Library feeling money pinch " donations sought |

Library feeling money pinch " donations sought

Though not in danger of imminent closure, the Nevada County Library system is feeling the crunch of a tough economy and is seeking donations.

“We are actively seeking help,” County Librarian Mary Ann Trygg told The Union Tuesday. “We know people love their library and want to keep it vibrant. It’s a tough time for everybody, but if you want to see the library flourish, we’re asking you to donate.”

The six-library system has been vibrant and growing in the 10 years since county voters approved and then extended an eighth-cent sales tax through 2018, Trygg said. Sales tax revenues make up the bulk of the library’s budget, but they are declining due to decreasing business transactions countywide.

The library took $300,000 earlier this year from its $900,000 reserve fund to balance the recently completed 2007-2008 fiscal year budget, Trygg said. That will probably happen again to balance the current 2008-2009 budget of $2.7 million.

With a declining reserve, an expected loss of around $50,000 from the state when legislators get around to a passing a budget, and a projection of about $1.7 million in sales taxes for the library for 2008-2009, Trygg is worried about a diminishing level of services.

“We’re fearful we’ll not get the full $1.7 million,” Trygg said.

The 2007-2008 library budget was based on projected sales tax income of $2.1 million, but actual tax income will probably be more like $1.7 million once the final tax funds roll in from the state, Trygg said.

Already, hours have been cut for temporary staff members, some data bases for research have been eliminated and a number of magazine subscriptions have been canceled, Trygg said. The proposed painting and replacement of the ramp at the Grass Valley Library have been postponed; the Doris Foley Library for Historical Research has been limited to opening Monday, Tuesday and Friday, compared to five days a week just two years ago.

“We’ve cut from the training budget and new book purchases,” Trygg said. Plans to replace 12 computers this year across the system have been scaled down to replacing three.

During the 2007-2008 fiscal year, residents checked out 721,000 items and had 60,000 library cards, Trygg said.

The system has full, free library services in Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee, and station libraries in Penn Valley and at Bear River High School, along with the Foley Library, in Nevada City.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail, or call 477-4237.

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