Open letter to our patrons re: Reducing Library Hours

Reducing Library Hours

Declining property values continue to reduce revenues generated by the Library's dedicated millage. Revenues for 2011 were $352,155 less than 2010. In 2012 they will decrease by an additional $228,443. Total reduction in revenues since 2008 is $645,080 (26%). Meanwhile library use is at record levels and will continue on the upswing for the foreseeable future. Our primary goal remains providing top-notch library service to Waterford.

Over the past 3 years we have implemented staff reductions primarily through attrition. By the end of 2011 we will have a total of 5 vacancies due to retirements and one vacancy due to a librarian taking a position at another library. None of which we can afford to fill. With great regret we are now faced with reducing hours by closing Fridays. Doing so will allow reallocation of remaining staff hours to provide the best service possible.

Why Friday? Statistically this is the least busy day of the week. Weekends are family days at the Library. Sundays are the busiest 4 hours of the week and have been since we began them in 1995. And, they were a promise made to the community when we asked for your support for a dedicated operating millage.

Reductions in other areas include:

  • The budget for the collection – books, magazines, audio formats – by 75%. We developed a RENTAL collection for copies of best sellers in order to turn over some copies faster than those filling the holds queue. We can still take your suggestions for titles to add to the collection. Just know that we can act on far fewer of them than in the past.
  • Materials used to prepare new items for the shelves, e.g. foregoing plastic book covers. This item alone equals roughly 500 new books.
  • Eliminating interlibrary loans from libraries outside of Michigan. We have access to rich resources in many public libraries of southeastern Michigan through our library cooperative and in many other Michigan libraries through the MelCat statewide interlibrary loan system. MelCat alone has eliminated the majority of requests we used to make for materials from libraries out of state.

We are in the best possible position to manage in these difficult times. Knowledgeable staff members are available to assist you. By staff initiative, our Library Improvement Team helps us to creatively meet library service needs on an ongoing basis with little or no budget impact. The collections and public access computers have been maintained at optimal capacities until now, lessening the impact of these cutbacks.

We hope that we can count on your continued understanding and support as we work through these challenging times.

Joan M. Rogers
Library Director