From the Alaska Dispatch:
The budget for Anchorage’s library system is declining. In 2012, it was $7.2 million, the lowest annual budget since 2006. But costs — for everything from labor to heating and operating expenses — are going up.
To offset the budget crunch, library hours were reduced across the Anchorage system in 2009. Despite the decreases in availability and access, library use is going up — at about 2 percent per year. The areas seeing the highest increase in use all involve new technology — technology that was not in place when the city’s main branch, the Z.J. Loussac Library, opened in 1986.
As the managers of the Anchorage library system look toward its future, one thing is clear: the city’s libraries must adapt to changing technology, and changing needs. E-books are the fastest growing part of the library system’s circulation. Computers are among its most-used equipment. Anchorage’s libraries currently have 84 public-access computers — hundreds fewer than other cities of the same size. But technology is expensive, especially when installed inside buildings that weren’t built to handle it.
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