The Changing Role of Public Libraries

Diane Rehm, the longtime NPR talk show host, is known for tackling politically charged matters. She recently interviewed Sari Feldman, executive director of Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library, John Hill, president of the D.C. Public Libraries Board of Trustees and Camila Alire, the president, American Library Association.

All of the guests noted that usership of public libraries has increased, yet library systems across the nation are facing major budget cuts.

In Cayahoga County, Ohio there have been great economic difficulties. Last summer public libraries received notification that they would receive reduced state funding, including an immediate cut of 4.5 million dollars. In 2010, more reductions through state and local funding. They had no choice, but to reduce hours and close the majority of branches on Sundays.

For this one story, there are thousands like it all over the country.

So your city faces budget shortfalls and it directly affects the library system. There are non-political ways to go about making the tough decisions on which branches to close, what hours should be modified, where staffing cuts should be made.

Taking an analytical look at this type of situation helps public library directors and city council members make critical decisions, backing those decisions with data and facts. If you find your community in a similar situation, let us know. We've provided analytical solutions for cities with large library systems such as Fort Worth, TX and a one location situation in Palm Springs, CA.

A link to a recording of the show can be found here:

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