Dauphin County Library System: Open for Discovery!
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Funding

    Did the building renovations and replacement projects done over the last several years cause the operating deficit?

    No, the new libraries and the renovations of existing libraries were done with funds raised through grants and donations specifically for capital projects.

    But don’t bigger, better libraries mean higher costs for staff and other expenses?

    No significant changes in operating costs have occurred. The new buildings were designed with staff and energy efficiency in mind. There are some additional costs to run a larger library, such as utilities.

    Can you put the $750,000 budget deficit in perspective?

    $750,000 is roughly equal to what the library spends on buying new materials to loan to citizens each year—the core of what a library does. Another way to look at it is that closing two of the library system’s mid-sized libraries will still not close the gap.

    What is the current library millage rate and what rate are you proposing?

    The current rate is .35 mills. The proposed rate is .45 mills.

    What is the annual cost to the average household for the millage increase The Library is proposing?

    Approximately $10 per year for property assessed at $100,000.

    Besides closing libraries or cutting operating hours in half, what other cuts are being considered?

    • Dramatically reduced educational programming for children and families.
    • Providing far fewer public access computers
    • Eliminating the Grants Information Center and related services for area businesses and nonprofit organizations
    • Eliminating all in-depth reference service
    • Reducing services to job seekers
    • Reducing or eliminating outreach to daycares and other agencies who serve at-risk children

    Do we really still need libraries when there is Google and the Internet?

    Library visits were up 9% in 2011 and borrowing increased 8%. Each year, residents borrow library items more than a million times.

    In addition to traditional library use, libraries are community centers, offering meeting rooms for local groups, programming for children and families, reliable information to answer research needs, plus hi-tech solutions like e-books, audio books and free Wi-Fi access. Libraries provide free public computers that are in high demand, as are literacy based programs that help parents and childcare providers make certain children enter school ready to learn.

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