Libraries plot ways to manage slimmed budget
State libraries navigating $2.1 million cut to budget
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A $2.1 million budget cut to the state's public library system will lead to fewer books on shelves and possibly delay the filling of vacant jobs, officials say.
To meet the shortfall, library officials are proposing slashing $400,000 for books, more than $180,000 in staff vacancies and turnover, and $600,000 in energy-saving projects.
A state Board of Education committee yesterday gave preliminary approval to the library's spending plan.
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Hawaii public libraries will have to offer fewer books and they might experience a delay in filling vacant positions because of a $2.1 million budget cut this fiscal year, officials told the state Board of Education yesterday.
The state's slowing economy prompted lawmakers to trim the library's budget by more than $900,000 and Gov. Linda Lingle imposed a 4 percent spending restriction on all state departments, or some $1.1 million for libraries, said Keith Fujio, administrative services officer for the state's library system.
The state's 51 public libraries are being funded by an estimated $28.7 million, down about 7 percent from the 2007-08 fiscal year, Fujio said.
To meet the shortfall, officials will eliminate more than $600,000 set aside for energy-saving projects, reduce by $400,000 a $2.4 million general fund book budget, and do without more than $180,000 in staff vacancy savings.
Fujio said librarians "are going to have to be a little bit more frugal" in deciding which books to buy and how much to order. He predicted it also will be harder to fill some 50-plus empty library positions statewide.
The school board's Public Libraries and Student Support Services Committee approved the spending plan and warned library officials to prepare for future cuts in light of Hawaii's poor economic outlook.
"I think we are all in the same boat," said the committee's chairwoman, Eileen Clarke, who noted the Department of Education had its budget lowered by about $17 million. "We all just got to bite the bullet."
Officials also acknowledged that the library's operating costs will go up with the expected completion of the North Kohala Public Library at the end of 2009 and the Manoa Public Library by mid-2010.
Fujio said libraries already are $500,000 short in money to cover rising costs of gasoline, postage, utilities, security and repair and maintenance work.