Hello Arlington neighbors,
If you followed the County budget process for Fiscal Year 2011, you know that July signals the start of the new fiscal year and new fiscal realities for Arlington Public Library. The budget for library materials in FY 2011 is 6 percent less than it was last year, and this reduction is in addition to previous cuts in FY 2009 and FY 2010.
Many Library users will notice and be affected by this year’s materials budget reductions. As much as we’ve tried to avoid it, the Library simply can no longer absorb the decline in materials funding by taking “a little bit here and a little bit there.”
Mass market paperback collections will soon be eliminated at all Library locations–
- Mass market paperback collections were introduced as browsing collections only–to supplement permanent library collections.
- The mass market paperback format is ephemeral–shelf life is generally no more than 1 year for these items.
- The majority of items purchased in mass market paperback format are also available in the Library’s permanent collections.
- Use of these collections has been declining for the past few years.
No new music CDs will be added to the collection in FY 2011–
- Declining use of these collections mirrors the decline in retail industry sales for music CDs.
- Downloadable/streaming music alternatives will be explored and piloted with Friends of the Library funding support.
Fewer titles and copies will be purchased of new fiction, nonfiction and children’s picture books; fewer replacements will be purchased for withdrawn copies–
- Waiting lists for in-demand titles will be longer.
- Copies will not be as readily available on library shelves.
Selected homework help online resources will be discontinued–
- Subscription to the canceled database will still be available to students through their school websites.
But there is some good news. too. Thanks to your participation and comments during the public budget process, the County Board restored funding to guarantee that popular periodical and newspaper subscriptions will continue to be available all eight Arlington Public Library locations.
And in coming weeks, you will see several new online resources that have proven to be very popular in other library systems.
What does the Library consider when making these choices? Collection decisions are based on a number of factors:
- Community interest in and use of library materials
- Evolving formats and technologies
- Professional industry standards and best practices
- Focus on the Library’s mission and goals
Collections decisions can be difficult ones. We recognize that they have a significant impact on our loyal customers, but they reflect the fact that the current reduced level of Library materials support means business as usual is no longer possible.
Library staff continue to welcome and consider suggestions for new acquisitions via the Library’s online suggestion form. Our customers are our best source of information about what is in demand at the Library. We appreciate your continued support and understanding, and the pride and passion for excellent Library collections shared by Library staff.
With all best wishes,