“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.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.