Culver library looks at labor costs

An in-depth look at the Culver-Union Township Public Library’s finances took center stage at the library board’s first meeting of 2011 last month.
The meeting began with the introduction of newest board member Joan Bess, recently appointed by Culver’s Town Council.
Board Treasurer Alfred Nyby, from a handout he distributed to board members and projected onto a screen, presented a report focusing on trends in library spending and receipts past, present, and future.
Nyby said the library took in $457,000 in 2010, a bit more than the $448,000 the board had projected going into the year. Library expenditures were $443,000, while they were projected a year ago at $439,000.
Personal services -- payroll and related costs -- accounted for 63.3 percent of the library’s operating expenses last year, Nyby explained, adding that two out of every three dollars spent went to those costs.
“Our biggest problem is expenditures,” he said, after noting around $11,000 came to the library unexpectedly from the county. “We spent $182,000 instead of $172,000 in salaries for our assistants.
“From 1999 to 2004, the library was pretty consistent at saving money,” he explained. “Then we had a four-year stretch where we spent a lot more than was taken in. The last two years we did a good job of getting spending under control. This year we will likely spend more than we receive. We need to take that into account. Tax receipts have dropped, our personal services (costs) are increasing; most other costs are stable.”
The library’s gravest concern, he said, is CAGIT (County Adjusted Gross Income Tax) funds being altered, which will result in a $20,000 loss for the library this year. Overall, Nyby projected a loss of around $31,000 in 2011 for the library.
Personal services costs, on the other hand, will increase around $9,500 (growing from 62 percent of the library’s budget to 65 percent) this year. The state average, Nyby said, is 64 percent, “so we’re okay, but it’s a bad trend. It’s slowly creeping up....we’re going to have to watch what’s going on.”
The library operated with eight employees last year, but is now up to nine, and at least three employees are required to be in the building to keep it open at any given time. Group insurance costs will increase this year about $5,100, he added.
Board member Carol Saft suggested the possibility of reducing evening hours during the winter; the building is currently open until 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Devices were installed December 31 to count the number of patrons entering the library, McCarty said, which will help give data for tracking of various aspects of usage statistics. She noted 1,292 people came through either the upstairs or downstairs library doors during the first week of January, and 1,101 the following week.
The state of Indiana has enacted requirements as of January, 2011, that every library have a qualified reference person available at least part-time, McCarty explained, adding part of the library’s salary increases are related to meeting those standards. Staff member Jon Gaskill, who is in the candidacy program for the state’s Masters in Library Science program, is manning the reference outpost from 3 to 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at present, she said.
Culver library should “go live” March 1 with Overdrive, an online program which facilitates library patrons’ free access to e-books, audiobooks, movies, and music as part of their cardholding privileges. The system includes access to items purchased by other member libraries in the Evergreen consortium, including some large-city libraries, she pointed out.
Wrapping up the meeting was the election of the board’s 2011 officers, which included Jim Hahn as re-elected President, Nyby as Treasurer, Melanie Robertson as Secretary, and Peg Schuldt as Vice President. The March meeting of the board was changed from the 15th of that month to Tuesday, March 22.