Most public libraries across the state are in the midst of budget season. Just like most cities in Iowa, the Library Director, in coordination with the Library Board of Trustees, must prepare a budget to submit to their local city councils in order to request adequate funding for programs, services and personnel for the new funding year beginning July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. Eighty percent of the 543 libraries in the state of Iowa are located in communities of less than 2500 residents. Many of those libraries are in towns of under 1000 population. The Library Directors in those communities typically work part-time and do the programming, reference and ordering of materials as well as check out items to patrons. And, don’t forget, all those items that come back must also be returned to the shelves for others to borrow. Did I mention the reporting that must be done as well? The State Library requires an annual report of the performance of the library in order to receive financial support from the legislature. We count items checked out, how many people come in each day, how many meetings are held, the number of programs we provide, the funding allocated to us and how we spent that allocation. That’s a lot of work for one person to do in 20 hours a week.
Take time this week to thank your library staff for all they do for your community. They are truly unsung heroes!