Archive for June, 2009

Summer Hours: July 5 – Sept. 6

June 17, 2009

In response to the Board of County Commissioners’ vote June 16 to cut the Library’s funding by 10% for the upcoming fiscal year, the Library is instituting “Summer Hours” beginning Sunday, July 5. All branches will be closed on Sundays through Sunday, September 6, and normal Sunday operations will resume on Sunday, September 13. Since most of our 24 branches already are closed on Sundays, the branches affected by this change are:

We understand that this will be quite a change for some of our customers. Here are some answers to a few of the questions you may have:

Why are we having Summer Hours?
The Library needed to reduce hours of operation to save money. The Library received less funding from Mecklenburg County this year due to the current economic situation.

Are the changes permanent?
No. The changes are for the summer only. Normal Sunday hours will resume September 13. The decision was made to close on Sundays for the summer only because this will have the least impact on the most customers, since school is out of session during this time.

Will we be doing this every summer?
We don’t know. The changes are being made this summer in response to the current economic and budget situation, and it’s too early to say what the situation will be next year.

As always, some library services will continue to be available around-the-clock, including the library’s 24-hour book drops, online account access and catalog searching at www.plcmc.org, and the library’s automated telephone renewal line at (704) 416-7363. We thank you for your understanding!

Sincerely,
The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County

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“Today Show” shines national spotlight on libraries

June 16, 2009

A national story that ran on NBC’s The Today Show last week shone the national spotlight on libraries, highlighting issues such as increased library use and decreased funding that are libraries nationally as well as locally.  

According to a recent American Library Association (ALA) study, “Libraries Connect Communities,” 73% of libraries are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities. This access has become even more important as families across the country struggle economically. As a result, many libraries have begun reporting double-digit growth in computer usage in 2008. This reflects the local picture as well, as the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) has  seen an 11% increase in library computer use, as well as such as 18% in requests, 8% in items lent, 9% increase in questions answered, and 5% in website use.

The Today Show story also highlighted the funding challenges most public library systems are facing, which is also the case here in Mecklenburg County. On June 11, the Library’s Board of Trustees approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2010 that reflected a 10% (or $3.6 million) reduction in County funding. The major impacts of the reduced budget scenario are as follows:

  •  28% reduction in the books and materials budget
  • 10% reduction in personnel budget (including furlough days, benefits reductions, and unfilled/frozen positions remain vacant)
  • 10% reduction in utilities budget (possible reduced hours of operation)
  • 10% reduction in supplies budget

The Library will await the final decision of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, June 16, before a final determination will be made on the impact to operating hours – however, it is likely that locations will close on Sundays during the summer months while school is out, to have the least possible impact on our customers.

Yet in spite of these challenges, the Library is working to meet the growing needs of our community, and recently launched a Customer Satisfaction Survey to assess how we are meeting those needs. We are also in the process of finalizing a 3-year Strategic Plan and an important reorganization process to realign the Library’s organizational structure with twenty-first century needs. If you would like to stay up-to-date on library news and updates, please visit www.plcmc.org and subscribe to our e-newsletter. 

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Rate your most recent library experience

June 2, 2009

We’re always striving to improve the ways that we serve you, our customers. One of our continuing goals is to be America’s best public library in service to our community. With that in mind, we’re asking if you’d be willing to participate in a short survey rating your most recent library experience on several key issues.

In addition to helping the library assess its progress toward the goal of being America’s best public library, the results of this survey will help us provide critical data for Mecklenburg County’s Community & Corporate Scorecard.

The survey should take less than five minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your participation!

Take the survey now.