All I want for Christmas is…#45: 2011
December is municipal budget season in Guelph. City departments, the police, health units, and yes, the public library are all vying for the taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars.
This year, GPL went in with a modest budget proposal of a 1.6% increase on last year’s budget and the request for one additional staff member, a Development Officer at a cost of $74,200 to increase our revenue line. The request was received politely by Council, but much to my surprise, the above cartoon appeared in the local newspaper the following week. I was shocked. I have been quoted, misquoted, photographed, and lampooned, but never before have I been cartooned.
The end result of this year’s budget process was that GPL received a 2.3% budget increase for 2012 including funding to hire a Development Officer. We are thrilled, humbled, and grateful all at the same time. But you know I am going to ask, what did I learn?
►All publicity is good publicity, as scary as that may seem to us in library land.
►Making the business case (by demonstrating increasing revenue, testing alternate service models, leveraging partnerships, and enhancing efficiencies) is fundamental in demonstrating to decision makers that public libraries are “doing business differently.”
►Service reviews add significantly to the libraries’ credibility as responsible and dynamic business units that, with rigorous evaluation, are improving.
►It takes a team to bring home the bacon! From staff, to the board, to city council, many folks have a hand it making a public library successful and relevant.
►Finally, to quote one of our city fathers, “you can compromise and still win.”
So now the real work begins, as we learn how to build more effective business cases and begin mining an alternate revenue stream for GPL.
Kitty Pope #46 December 2011