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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 17, 2018

Library director talks finances, programming

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jan 24, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Fairfield Public Library director Rebecca Johnson delivers her annual report to the Fairfield City Council Monday night.

Fairfield Public Library director Rebecca Johnson delivered her annual report Monday to the Fairfield City Council.

Johnson spoke about the changes the library has made in the past two years to save money, as well as a new line of programs for adults.

 

Cutbacks

Ever since the city received a bond downgrade in June of 2015, department heads have had to tighten their belt to improve the financial position. The city’s bond rating has improved since then, but the council still wants to keep a close eye on finances, and trim any area it can do without.

Johnson said the library wanted to be a team player in this effort and thus decided not to replace full-time technical support administrator Michael Cacioppo when he left in 2015. The library continued to pay Cacioppo as an independent contractor, but he was working off-site, and only part time. Most of his responsibilities fell to Johnson. The library was able to save $20,000 the first year of Cacioppo’s absence, and $22,000 the second.

“I’ve had to learn quite a few things about tech matters because I’ve been in this role,” she said. “But this was never intended to be a permanent change. I need to attend to the tasks I was hired to do.”

Johnson said she realizes the council probably can’t hire a new tech support administrator this year, but she is holding out hope that if revenues rise, the city will be able to fund the position for fiscal year 2019-2020.

 

Circulation

Cacioppo ran a series of classes called “Technology Tuesdays” where he taught participants how to use smartphones, tablets, programs such as Microsoft Excel, how to protect one’s identity from theft, and how to back up a computer’s hard drive.

Johnson said those classes brought in a lot of people to the library, and those people often checked out books or other items once they were in the library. Ever since Cacioppo left two years ago, circulation has dipped.

Circulation was about 189,000 in 2015-16, and that fell to about 180,000 last fiscal year.

 

New people, new programs

A couple reinforcements have arrived to replace some of the programming that was lost a few years ago.

Kathy Shaw, a retired librarian with a master’s in library science, volunteers her time, allowing other staff to plan programming and events for adults.

Joy Craig is the library’s newest employee who started earlier this month. She is helping to plan events for adults such as business workshops, marketing, a series on QuickBooks and a few lunch-and-learn presentations.

 

Request to supervisors

Johnson appeared at the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors meeting a few weeks ago and asked the board to keep its funding of the library steady at $67,500.

“Libraries were established on ideas of intellectual freedom and having access to information regardless of a person’s financial stance,” Johnson told the supervisors at the time.

The supervisors told Johnson they would agree to her funding request.

 

 

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