The Public is Invited to Help Shape the Library Budget

September 6, 2006 - The Minneapolis Public Library Trustees are seeking public input as they develop the 2007-2009 library budget. The Trustees' goal is to provide the highest quality library service to people within the constraints of the Library's operating budget. These constraints are severe: Minneapolis already has among the worst library hours of any major city in America, and long- term forecasts indicate that the gap between the Library's revenues and expenses will grow.

The budget plan will require hard choices between competing demands in the allocation of extremely limited resources. Some of these demands include:

* Opening all libraries on Saturdays
* Reopening North Regional and East Lake libraries
* Providing as many open library hours as possible
* Increasing the budgets for books and materials to the industry standard
* Establishing service levels that can be sustained beyond 2007

To help guide the public input, the Trustees are developing budget-balancing options for discussion. These options will outline a variety of combinations of library closures and scheduled open hours; the adequacy of funding for technology, facility maintenance, books, and materials; and impacts on staffing. The options will represent widely divergent service values. The options will be finalized by the Board at its September 6th meeting, at the Central Library starting at 6:00 p.m.

The Trustees will use a variety of mechanisms throughout September to elicit public feedback. Five community meetings are scheduled in September.

Thursday, September 14th, 
Walker Library, 2880 Hennepin Ave.

Monday, September 18th,
Sumner Library, 611 Van White Memorial Blvd.
Tuesday, September 19th,
Minnehaha United Methodist Church, 3701 E 50th St.
Thursday, September 21st,
Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall
Monday, September 25th, 
Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave. N.E.

In addition, on-line and print surveys and an on-line discussion forum will be available; and four focus groups will be held with library cardholders selected at random.

Visit www.mplib.org next week to access on the online survey; hard copies should also be available in libraries by the middle of next week.



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