Ohioana Book Festival and Funding

May 12, 2009

Each week seem busier than the last!  I’m late getting this post written because I spent all day Saturday working at the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus.  There were so many authors and great attendance.  Of course, I bought a couple of books!  Lines to have books signed formed at several author tables including R.L. Stine, Jeff Smith and Margaret Peterson Haddix.  A number of Hamilton County authors and illustrators were there: Sharon Draper, Louise Borden, Mary Kay Carson and Will Hillenbrand to name just a few.  The crowd for the event was larger than I expected.  Our Library shared a display table with Toledo and Columbus libraries and were visited often.  As always, people were very complimentary of their public libraries and kids were enthusiastic about upcoming summer reading programs. Tara, Nancy, Amanda, Charlotte, Frank, Eileen and Melissa also worked at the Festival.  Part of my time was spent talking with authors about our Books by the Banks Book Festival.  I hope we encouraged some of them to come.   When the day was over the first question Linda Hengst, Ohioana’s Director had for me was, “Are you in for next year?”  Absolutely!

For a long time staff have been asking for computers that were restricted to accessing the Library’s catalog.  They’re finally here and from all accounts a great success.  A few branches and Main already have computers that can only be used to search the catalog and we plan to add at last one catalog only station to every branch.  Many thanks to Computer Services staff for getting this to work.  Our customers really appreciate the convenience of being able to walk in and check the catalog without having to reserve a computer.

We learned last week that the Zaring Family Foundation had approved a gift of $10,000 to the Library Foundation.  Foundation chairman Allen Zaring IV called me to share the good news.  We appreciate this very generous donation and also Allen’s hard work on the Foundation’s behalf.  Thank you.

Finally, the bad news.  The Public Library Fund receipts for May were posted last week although we won’t get the funds until May 15.  Unfortunately, the economy continues to cause this revenue, our primary source of funding, to drop.  May was down 26% when compared to May 2008 or $1.6 million!   If funding continues to drop at the same rate we’ll be down from the 2009 estimate, what our budget was based on, 10% or $4.4 million.  We’re having to constantly adjust spending to stay within this dwindling funding.  This drop makes it even more urgent for us to secure an additional source of revenue by the end of the year.  As we’ve previously reported, we’re using one-time funds including gifts received over many years and capital funds designated for other projects to keep operating at current service and staffing levels through the year.

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