May 24, 2022

“Serious Times” For New Orleans Libraries as Reserve Funding Begins to Run Out, Branch Closures Possible

From The Lens:

The New Orleans Public Library system is quickly running out of money, and it could be forced to close branches by 2016, Executive Director Charles Brown told the New Orleans City Council during the library’s Monday budget hearing. Council members said they would support a proposal to raise property taxes for the library.

The library’s primary source of revenue is a dedicated, 3.14 mill property tax, but that doesn’t cover current operations. For several years, it has been supplementing that by spending down its reserve fund.

The system has budgeted about $3 million annually in reserve money in 2014 and 2015, or about one quarter of the library’s $12-million-plus annual budget. Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s 2015 budget proposal does not include an allocation from the city’s general fund, and the city has not allocated significant funding to the library system since 2009. Library officials have warned the city for years that its reserves are running out. By mid-2016, that money will be gone, Brown estimated.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.