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Difficult Times, Difficult Choices

Eva Davis, DirectorThe 2010 library budget process has begun, and the economic news continues to worsen. The library board of trustees, library administration, and library staff have so far focused on making cuts that have the least impact on our service to you, but as the recession deepens, the sad truth is that you will begin to see an erosion in library services.

In 2009, we reduced the library budget by 10%--a combination of falling property values and the vote by the board of trustees in August 2008 to voluntarily lower the library millage rate to reduce the burden on our economically-stressed taxpayers. In 2010, we are facing an additional cut of 6% to 10%. The total cuts over these two years will total more than $1 million from the library's 2008 budget of $6.4 million. We can no longer avoid making cuts that will affect your experience at the library.

Why is library revenue declining?

  • About 93% of our revenue comes from property taxes; as property values have fallen, our property tax revenues have also declined. The voters of Canton originally approved a library funding rate of 2.0 mills, which has been eroded by Headlee to 1.5437 mills. In August of 2008, recognizing the toll that the recession was taking on our taxpayers, the library board voted to voluntarily reduce the library millage to 1.4980, cutting your taxes by $6 for every $100,000 in taxable value.
  • State revenue sharing has declined; while Public Act 89 of 1977 mandates state funding of $1.50 per capita for public libraries in Michigan, the actual amount the state budgeted for 2009 was $.96 per capita, and state budget cuts have taken that down even further, to $.92 per capita for 2009 and a projected $.85 per capita for 2010.
  • Interest on investments, county penal fine sharing, and donations to the library are also down compared to previous years.

The irony is that the library budget is declining while library usage has increased more than 25% since 2007. Over the last year we've reduced our spending on "behind the scenes" activities to minimize the impact on our public. We've streamlined our internal processes, reduced our headcount, eliminated redundancies and unnecessary steps, and pulled together as a team to come up with ways to continue serving you with excellence despite having less money. I am proud of my staff for their creativity and flexibility in facing these tough cuts. We have been able, for the most part, to continue to meet your expectations for excellent library service, and are the definition of "doing more with less."

For 2010 we must make further cuts to reach a balanced budget. We are looking at cutting our staffing, materials, programming, marketing, technology, and training lines, which means that for you, our public, there will be a noticeable difference. You'll see it in our programming, with fewer sessions and larger audience sizes. You'll see it in our collections, as we will not be able to purchase as many titles or copies of titles as we have in the past. You'll see it in our research offerings, as we cut expensive electronic subscriptions and magazines that we can no longer afford. You'll see it in increased wait times for checkout, longer lines at service desks, and longer hold times when you call us as we stretch our shrinking staff. We'll print fewer bookmarks, fewer Connections newsletters, and fewer flyers. We'll stretch our hardware and software, squeezing a few more years of service out of them to avoid replacement costs.

Please respond to this post with your comments on our 2010 budget. In a time where the library can no longer provide everything to which you are now accustomed, what do you think we should cut? What should we preserve? What is important to you, our library patrons? We want to hear from you!

Eva M. Davis, Director


Sat, 2009-06-27 00:08

I support the return of the millage to the earlier rate. The services of the library are one of the most attractive features of this community. My relatives always comment on this when they visit and wish their communities spent their tax dollars similarly. I would also recommend some temporary cutbacks in say the number of copies of bestsellers or other books, and DVDs, CDs and games.

Wed, 2009-07-01 10:26

Thank you, raj_s777, for your support and comments. I will make sure they are shared with the library board.

Sat, 2009-06-27 16:15

We have a fine library, best in overall features and offerings. I've always wondered of the value of having so many people at the front checkout desk, often 4 or more at a time standing around waiting for someone to show up and rarely found them to be of much service. I do not know their salaries but estimate at least $15,000 annually per person, and I as a customer do not find my money going to good use in this area. That would buy a lot of materials. The self checkout stations work just fine thank you and I use it at my pace and pleasure. We do need a few more of those though. This will be unpopular, but CPL does not exist to employ people for the sake of it. Likewise for certain but not all employees sitting at the desks in certain areas like the childrens, reference, and front door locations. I rarely see them doing much. This does not mean eliminating all positions, but keep the truly motivated workers who actually make eye contact and proactively work to help all patrons. I would rather you keep spending on broad based materials for the library, for all sections of our society not just the majority. I am very proud of this diversity of materials we have, not just what I personally use. Regarding usage of other libraries, I have used them many times as well to complement what is not available at CPL so unless the expense for sharing is exorbitant I highly recommend keeping that relationship between neighboring communities. Please keep at least 1 day open on the weekends. Eva, thank you for putting this board up to accept comments from the public. It is extremely unusual to find this good will from government. There are some great ideas from the posts.

Wed, 2009-07-01 10:32

george, I agree with you that there are some great comments and suggestions from everyone who has taken the time to post here. The tremendous level of participation in this discussion proves that the library remains a vital resource to our community.

As I mentioned in my original post, staffing levels are one of the things we are looking at, and over the last year we have reduced our headcount through attrition. That will continue as the recession deepens, and will result in longer lines at all desks and increased wait times for service over the phone. We will also be reducing our materials purchases by buying fewer copies of bestsellers, and will do our best with our limited funds to continue to provide a diverse collection. We've received several comments that we should maintain our agreements with neighboring public libraries, and your comments reinforce the value of resource sharing.

Thanks again for your comments--this kind of public discussion is exactly what I was hoping for!

Sun, 2009-06-28 13:39

I am proud of our library and I am happy to have my tax dollars support it. I am an avid reader who until recently purchased my books since I like to keep them for rereading in the future. However, with my ever tightening budget I have rediscovered our library. I would gladly give a little more in tax dollars to keep the services offered.

I know that not everyone has internet access but I think that most people do these days. Perhaps you should consider sending out the newsletter in a PDF format via e-mail. This would greatly reduce printing and mailing costs.

I do like to check out DVDs at the library since you often have selections that are not "popular" enough to be found at the local video rental store. I would willingly pay a nominal fee to check these out.

Wed, 2009-07-01 10:34

Thanks, michelleculp, for your comments! Your feedback helps us as we navigate the budgetary waters. While I wish the circumstances were different, I am glad to hear that you have "rediscovered" the library and I know I speak for everyone here when I say that we hope to continue serving you for many years to come. I will pass your comments about the millage rate on to the library board. Thank you for your feedback!

Sun, 2009-06-28 22:40

I definitely agree with the suggestion of an electronic newsletter. It would save paper, and I think it may actually reach more people. I would read it or at least glance at it if it was sent to my email.

Some people were saying that they would agree to pay a nominal fee. I strongly disagree. I would NOT be willing to pay a fee to check out materials from the library. I believe that the free access to information is one of the best features of the library and that charging for materials would be going against one of CPL's core principles. I am a student and could not afford to pay. This would alienate lower income and younger persons that need the library. I agree with an earlier poster: cut employees before materials and interlibrary loans. I use the self-checkouts most of the time....

Mon, 2009-06-29 11:19

Thanks, tfastje,steve99, chaddattilio, crobbinslibrary, jb1182, michelleculp and others who have made suggestions regarding our newsletter.

Currently, we publish our newsletter six times a year. It is sent via bulk mail to approximately 35,000 households and businesses in Canton. Because of our bulk mail arrangement, which is by far the most economical, we are unable to accommodate any "opt-out" or "opt-in" mail preferences. We also publish the newsletter online, to which you can subscribe via RSS feed.

One thing that came through loud and clear to us in our Strategic Planning focus group sessions was that Canton residents count on the newsletter to let them know what is going on at the library, just as they count on the Focus to let them know what's going on in the Township. They love the fact that it is delivered to them and we get plenty of phone calls and inquiries here at the library if the newsletter isn't in their mailbox when they are expecting it.

There are ways we can reduce the cost of the newsletter and we are exploring many of them. For instance, we can publish quarterly, instead of bi-monthly, and save the printing and mailing costs of two issues. We can go to a black and white or two-color newsletter or change the format to make it less expensive to print. We can post it online and stop home delivery, perhaps having some copies available for pickup at local business and community partners. We could accept advertising or sponsors to help defray the costs.

Printing and mailing is generally more cost effective when done in bulk so some solutions offer greater savings than others, but, alone or in combination, these examples can help us reduce the cost of publishing the newsletter while still getting the information out to our community.We appreciate your thoughts on any of these options.

Mon, 2009-06-29 12:46

Thanks goldenl, I appreciate the fact that our library actively participates in strategic planning. It is crucial given the economic times we are seeing. If you are getting a lot of positive feedback regarding the Newsletter, the feedback should certainly be taken into account before decisions on cuts are made.

I still feel like the answer here is going to be revenue generation. Budget cuts are necessary this year, and they have potential to be painful in some service areas. Unfortunately, I feel very strongly that further cuts will be needed annually for years to come if we stay on this same path. Projections for full recovery of property values are as far out as ten years.

I stand by my earlier statement. The best way to take care of our library is probably going to be a full Headlee Override, setting the millage rate back to what we initially paid when we passed the millage (2.0 mills). This initative will have to be placed in front of Township voters, but I feel that voters will be willing to pay the millage they initially adopted (you have to love the Headlee Amendment) because of the excellent service being received in return.

Wed, 2009-07-01 10:36

Thank you, mghastin, for your feedback on our budget cuts. Our marketing manager posted separately on the Connections newsletter, so I won't repeat that here. I do appreciate your comments on checkout fees for certain materials and the need for more self-checkout stations, and we will take everyone's comments into consideration moving forward.

Mon, 2009-06-29 09:53

None of wish to spend extra money in these trying times. I find myself, though, more favoring those who propose rolling back the millage rate and/or restoring to the original 2.0 mils to reduce the impact for library services. Someone estimated this at about $51/year per 100,000. I have a median level functioning autistic child. One of the things that is an important part of his life is going to the libraries...both Plymouth and Canton...and getting a wide selection of some of his favorite dvds and videos, new and old, along with books and occasionally music. Charging a per item fee would, for us, be far more expensive if it was a $1 per item. A nickel or dime per item wouldn't add up so fast, but I wonder if the extra time would cause a lot of ftrustration at checkout and make the self-checkout less user friendly. I also do not favor canceling reciprocal agreements with other libraries. I and my children have benefitted by being able to get items not in the Canton collection and being able to use Plymouth's facilities also. Canceling these would be a great dissappointment. I do appreciate that the library is open until 6 on the weekend. Plymouth is only open until 5, by comparison, and with all the usual weekend things going on, the extra hour to get to Canton has been essential at times. I look forward to further discussion on how the community can rally behind the library. The services you provide have far more impact than many realize and I hope these can be maintained with the minimum of cutbacks that would affect those who need the services most.

Wed, 2009-07-01 10:40

jfishel, thank you so much for your compliments of the library and for letting us know which of our services you use most. I will pass on to the library board your comments regarding the millage rate. Several commenters have indicated that they do not want to see us terminate our reciprocal borrowing agreements with neighboring libraries, so this is a priority for many. Checkout fees seem to have supporters on both sides; our hope is that increasing fees would be a last resort rather than a first consideration in our budget discussions, for the reasons we've heard from many patrons.

Everyone here at the library appreciates your comments and support of our efforts. Thank you.

Mon, 2009-06-29 16:44

I was absolutely astounded at the taxpayer money that is allocated for the library! I'm sorry, but I think taxation and gov't spending is way, way out of control and has been for too long; from the library to the township, to the state and federal.
As for cutting the library budget, I don't think it's as hard as it is being made out to be. You can't be all things to all people. Cuts have to be made and judging by the enormous budget, should have been made years ago. Perhaps then our taxes can go down, too.
Almost exclusively, I only utilize the computer, printer, fax machine and computer classes. Technology almost demands that we keep our money in that.
I don't expect the library to become my source for music, movies and magazines. We have stores for that.
I think the library should go back to its roots: books. Even that category needs to be edited. How many new books do you purchase each year and which are necessary? Perhaps, alternating years that you purchase new books could be considered.
Although I love coming in on the weekends, maybe you should look at cutting one day throughout the week; maybe alternating which day you choose monthly.
1. How much was spent on the person/firm who was hired to survey what patrons wanted instead of the library simply gathering the info itself which it seems you are now doing also?
2. Why is it necessary to have so many reference librarians? If people are going to have to wait in line to check out materials, can't they also wait in line to speak to a reference librarian?
3. What percentage of the budget goes to employee salaries/benefits? Wouldn't people rather take benefit/pay cuts than be out of a job?
4. The first extraneous position that can easily go is the front door greeting station.
Good luck with the decisionmaking process.

Wed, 2009-07-01 10:58

Phyl, thank you for contributing to the budget discussion. With dwindling funds, we have and will continue to make cuts to our budget. For 2010, we are at a point where further cuts will impact services to the public, and my goal in starting this discussion is to find out what people's priorities are for library services. Many have said that books should be a priority; some have said that technology should be a priority. You have indicated that you'd like to keep both. Everyone's comments will help us make these tough decisions, and I appreciate you sharing yours.

As I mentioned in previous replies, the library will be cutting our materials expenditures, purchasing fewer copies of titles, and will also be cutting our technology expenditures, squeezing a few more years of service out of our existing hardware and software. We are also looking at additional library closures throughout the year, and will base those closures on a number of factors--visits and checkouts mostly, although for maximum utility cost savings adding a closure day adjacent to an already-scheduled holiday closing will have the most impact.

In answer to your specific questions:
1. Our strategic planning firm, K2+ Communications, provided the library with 6 months of services at a greatly discounted cost of $3000. We are proud to have hired a local Canton firm for our strategic planning and are very pleased with the work K2+ has done. What's most interesting to me is that the feedback we received from patrons during the strategic planning process touched more on their personal budgetary concerns, not the library's. Hence, this follow-up discussion--while it's great that people in our community take for granted that the library will always be there when they need it, I was surprised that no one made the connection between the recession and how that would impact the services the library is able to offer.

2. Patrons do, and will continue to, wait in line for service at all of our desks. We have lost three librarians through attrition over the last year and have not replaced those positions.

3. 53% of the library's budget is allocated to wages and benefits. This is well below the industry average. By comparison, our peer libraries in the state of Michigan spend an average of 64% of their budgets on wages and benefits.

4. Thank you for your opinion on the receptionist being an extraneous position.

Mon, 2009-06-29 17:08

I just read some of the excerpts above that employee wages and benefits account for 53% of the annual 6.4 million dollar budget and I am so aghast I did a doubletake. 3.3 million dollars per year for how many employees? Come on now. That is preposterous! You're talking about cutting services when what you should first and foremost be talking about is cutting employee wages and benefits.
You want to be transparent? Let's see you list the employees by their job function and their wages and the same with the benefits. I know Canton Township hands out too big a paycheck for their staff as well. They give more than $30,000 of our tax-dollars for an entry level clerk position - something you wouldn't get $15,000 for in the real work world.
You can just forget about charging fees for checking materials out -try cutting your employee payroll, wages and benefits, FIRST. Then come back to the taxpayers and talk about charging them even more for things that we have already paid for.

Mon, 2009-06-29 22:11

Interesting...buying new books every other year? That will keep things contemporary.

I have to take issue with these comments, as a frequent user of the CPL. Unfortunately, I do not have the benefit of being a user of the computers exclusively. There are lines for reference, lines for the circulation desk and even lines for the self check...especially at the busy times of the day. Phyl, I suppose the lines could be longer. How about wait times similar to the average Secretary of State office (the one in Canton is exceptional however)? Maybe we could decrease the number of computers and printers. Would you be willing to wait an hour for a machine, and then be time limited once you finally got one? It would probably make you angrier than you already are.

I'm not meaning to pick on you directly, but the point I am trying to make is that we could nit pick the services we do not use to death. The fact of the matter is that different people use different services. My estimation is that many people check out DVD's because they are expensive in stores. People view magazines for information, but don't want to buy a subscription because they are expensive. Some people don't want to pay for a computer or internet or a printer, they are expensive.

Broad based services here are the answer. You may use different services than others, but you still use services. I also think you should do a bit of research. Many governmental entities exceed 53% of an operating budget for employee compensation and benefits. Depending on the direct services provided by the entity, that number could be as high as 75%. I'm going to speak out as a Canton resident and say that since I have lived here services I have received from the public sector have been equal to, or in many cases, better than services received in the private sector.

I'm not here to debate public vs. private. Everyone has their purpose. I just want to convey the fact that getting rid of the DVD's or getting rid of the music is not going to solve the budget crisis. At some point we have to ask ourselves, what level of service am I willing to pay for? Sure that goes for services used by others. It also applies to services you use. So, how long are you willing to wait for use of the computer or the assistance you may need while using it?

Wed, 2009-07-01 12:27

Phyl, as I mentioned in my reply to you above, the library's expenditures on wages and benefits are well below the average for our peer libraries in the state. We spend 53% of our budget on wages and benefits; our peers average 64%. One of the reasons our expenditures are so much lower than average is because 86% of our staff are part-time and do not receive medical, dental, vision, or retirement benefits.

Staff cuts are certainly on the table, as I discussed previously. We cut our budget by $600,000 this year--from $6.4 million to $5.8 million--and are looking at another 10% cut for 2010.

Mon, 2009-06-29 20:35

i have been reading these excerpts and i dont get it, just because you dont use a product the library gives doesn't mean they should get rid of it that instant!

Tue, 2009-06-30 17:47

I base my comments on the origin and purpose of the American tradition of the free community library, an appropriate thing to do considering that the free library is a very American institution.

Our founding fathers - Franklin and Jefferson in particular- led the creation of the free public library. They did so from deep appreciation of the fact that the new government, the first on earth clearly based on the idea and fact of government of and for a nation of citizens and not the reverse, rested on something else very new, namely individual civic responsibility. Unlike other forms of government, American constitutionally permitted and limited government calls for responsible and well informed citizens. This civic responsibility requires possession of basic literacy and keeping abreast of current affairs. This is where free public libraries come in.

Franklin and Jefferson were so convinced that free community libraries are vital to ensuring that all citizens are able to exercise their civic responsibility of being well informed that they did much to encourage the founding of libraries. Both men launched libraries using their own resources.

Our free public library is first and foremost about education and news, lastly about mere entertainment. Consequently, highest priority should be devoted to newspapers, magazines and non-fiction books. Everything else is icing on the library cake.

Since the 1960s, public libraries, like the public university, have assumed a business - consumer model. Consequently, both institutions have tended to lose their way. They have become more about entertainment and consumer demand. Education and keeping informed have taken a back seat in both public education and public libraries.

Given the above, entertainment would receive my cuts and education and information access would get my firmest protection. Internet access, newspapers, news magazines, basic education related books, classic works are the American public library. New extreme political books and magazines, movie DVDs, popular music CDs, trade paper fiction would be first to get my deep budget razor. Too many public libraries have become foremost about entertainment & secondly about left or right wing ideologies.

On many occassions, I have observed financially pressed young single mothers using library Internet connections to gather information and resources vital to serving their roles as mother & citizen. From things I heard them say, they & their children have no other means to access the Internet. I've seen people looking for work using free library internet access and Federal Employment "Outlook" and other printed resources freely provided to public libraries by the US Printing Office. In the Cafe, I've heard patrons sharing employment and other life critical information. I also regularly see people taking free state and federal information booklets about social security, medicare, income taxes, and other subjects.

This is a time to reconsider the fundamental role and purpose of a very American institution, the free community public library. Once we realign the purpose, we know where cuts can be made and what must be protected. We could also stand to rethink the role and mission of public education as well. We need only consider that the fierce competition our youth face from Chinese, Thai, and Indian school graduates often comes from young adults who obtained their superior education from dirt floor school rooms where school supplies are in such short supply that students must share textbooks, paper, pencils and pens with each other.

Wed, 2009-07-01 12:28

Thank you, realist, for taking the time to share what your priorities are for library service.

Cori Zee
Wed, 2009-07-01 11:22

I think it may be a good thing to have to cut back. Recently as I have been perusing videos, I have found myself dismayed and disappointed to see multiple copies of third rate films, really bad choices, and thinking to myself, maybe the library has a little too much money to spend.

As a contribitor/donor it has certainly given me pause to think how my money is being spent.

As for how to be more resourceful, maybe the librarians could cull through donations a little more aggresively than they already do.

Also, refreshing collection areas, like the music. I had noticed the collection of Beatles music was in pretty shabby shape, but my suggestion to refresh it was not taken up.

Wed, 2009-07-01 12:32

Thank you, Cori Zee, for your feedback on our budget. We will be purchasing fewer copies of all formats to cut our costs, and as our funds dwindle, you will continue to see that we are unable to refresh collections as often as we have in the past. You may designate your contributions for specific collections or areas; if you wish to designate a donation for the CD collection, for example, you may say so in your accompanying letter, or by making a notation in the "memo" field of your check.

Wed, 2009-07-01 21:20

How unfortunate that the library has to suffer when it is such a jewel in the community. Bravo to you and the staff for all that you do in such difficult economic conditions. I often wonder if I should step up and volunteer my time because of all the library offers me and my family (has this idea already been shared???) And now it seems more important than ever. There are so many service groups looking for service hours, from girl/boy scouts, high school and college honor groups...would an increase in volunteers help at all with the increase in workload? What a great addition to someone's resume that would be.

And just a word of thanks. You and your staff have probably come to understand this already but so many people love and rely on the library and its staff. It always amazes me how much enjoyment my family and I get when we are there. I can't imagine a life without books (or magazines or movies). So like everything and everyone else we will ride this out, even if it means reduced hours, or waiting a little longer for that new book or giving a little of our time to volunteer our services.

Mon, 2009-07-06 09:37

barbarak, thank you for your comments and your compliments. Like everyone in Michigan for the last several years, we have been doing more with less, and I agree with you that my staff do a great job--thank you for noticing!

We currently use volunteers for a variety of tasks, and the Friends of the Library use volunteers exclusively to staff the Second Hand Prose used bookstore. More information on volunteering is available on our website.

Fri, 2009-07-03 01:18

As is apparent Smile I love the library. Having said that, I'm curious about why certain expenditures are made. In particular, I always had a difficult time considering that the library spent so much money on the cafe at the front. It is hardly *ever* used that I can see, and frankly just serves as competition for so many businesses in our community offering the same thing without taxpayer subsidy. I'm hoping that capital expenditures will be more thoughtful in the future. Of course, there will always be that patron who can't seem to do without this or that. But the fact of the matter is that we should only spend what we have (and also save for 'rainy days'!) and that's just a fact of life.

Mon, 2009-07-06 09:46

Thank you, librarylover, for your comments. Jungle Java Express is independently operated by Jungle Java, a Canton-based firm that is owned by the Mehl and Hess families, who are local residents and avid library users. The Jungle Java owners have a year-to-year lease on the space, and they staff and supply the cafe at their own cost. We are fortunate to have a local firm of Jungle Java's quality offering this amenity to our patrons, who would otherwise have to get into their cars and drive to Michigan Avenue or Ford Road. Most patrons are glad to have the cafe in the library. I appreciate your feedback on cafe expenditures; capital improvements to the cafe have been put off for the last two years due to the economy.

Fri, 2009-07-03 16:04

I feel a public library must first and foremost be a place to seek and find information. If books and free Internet access achieve this goal adequately, then those should be considered your core services. Other services are value-added, but may be considered outside the main charter of a library (I'm speculating). If you begin to charge for special programs or lending, you would then be competing with other community organizations that may provide similar programs (I think of various classes offered through the Summit, or the Schoolcraft community programs catalogs sent out regularly).

I don't envy you the task ahead, but urge you to determine what the fundamental services of a library are, and which are only feasible in times of "prosperity".

Out of curiosity, I was wondering if borrowing were to cease due to a future borrowing fee, how much additional space would the library require to store all the materials that would no longer be lent out? An extreme example, but just curious how the collection size compares to the size of the stacks.

Mon, 2009-07-06 09:55

Thank you for sharing with us your library priorities, bdavidson, and your feedback on charging for services. Your comments will help us as we craft a balanced 2010 budget.

I don't have statistics at my fingertips, but as a rough guide, most public libraries expect one-fifth to one-fourth of their collections to be checked out at any given time. Here, as the single-busiest library building in the state, generally between 25% and 35% of our collection is checked out at any given time. At busy times of the year, such as the summer months, that figure tends to be higher.

To provide some context, we have about 300,000 items in our collection. In 2008, we averaged 149,700 checkouts per month. So far in 2009, through May, we are averaging 163,100 checkouts per month. That's more than 5,000 items per day.

Sat, 2009-07-04 16:18

The library is a huge part of our household's life. We are: one senior citizen, retired from her job, heavy user of the large print books collection; one recently laid-off adult, cutting her entertainment budget to the bone and in need of any and all job-hunting resources; one adult who is returning to full-time school next month and will be without income until late 2010, but who still loves books, movies, and music; and one rising third-grader, whose skills in reading are developing by leaps and bounds. Between the three adults, not a week goes by without at least one library visit.

That said, here are my opinions:

I don't care a bit about having to wait in line for a few minutes to check out materials or to talk with a librarian or staff member. I wait in line at the credit union, at the grocery store, at the movie theater -- it's no big deal! However, please keep the self-checkout machines, they're great.

I would rather the library buy fewer copies of more titles, and have to sometimes wait to work my way up the hold list, than to have fewer titles available. I used to live in Ann Arbor, which has a good public library but I would routinely wait 3-4 months to get my hands on a New York Times bestseller from them. If a book is critical right now for my education or job, I'll find a way to buy it, but if it's "just" for entertainment, I don't care when it comes in.

I would be sorry to see fees for DVD checkout, but I would understand the need. However, I would suggest that fees be only for adult titles, and that kids' materials remain at no charge.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

Mon, 2009-07-06 09:57

tatiana, thank you for sharing your feedback and priorities with us. I am glad to hear that you and your family use the library regularly, and your comments will help us as we work on a balanced 2010 budget.

Tue, 2009-07-07 18:30

A patron suggested at the adult desk that we consider rounding up our fines, or including an option to round up for people who are feeling generous. She stated that she wouldn't be upset about paying an additional 30 cents on a 70 cent fine if she knew the money was helping the library. She also stated that perhaps we should consider charging a $1 fee for the Lucky Day DVDs, since they are high demand.

Tue, 2009-07-14 09:27

Thanks for passing on the comments, lalondeb.

Wed, 2009-07-08 21:20

The Canton Library is truly fantastic! I, too, remember when the library was located on the 3rd floor of the township building - the growth to what we have today is nothing short of remarkable. I would support raising taxes to keep the library growing. Personally, I wish the library was open longer hours (until 10 PM or midnight), especially during the school year.

My biggest complaint with the library is that the temperature is too cold in the summer. Although this isn't a big ticket item, turning the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer would help both the environment and the utility bills.

Tue, 2009-07-14 09:30

ctimkoone, thanks for your comments. When you wrote them, we were in the middle of a repair to our air conditioning units--some areas of the library were definitely, noticeably cooler than others. Maintaining temperature control in a building this size is already a monumental task, and for every person who complains it's chilly I have a comment from someone else that it's too warm! We strive to keep the temperatures in the range of what is comfortable, but by virtue of being close to the opening/closing of the doors, you will find that the areas near the front door and by equipment (computers, copiers) tend to be warmer than, say, the the Quiet Study room or the children's library. I appreciate your comments; we'll keep working on maintaining constant temperatures.

I also appreciate your comments about longer hours for the library; given the current economy that is not feasible, but we'll keep your comment on hand for the future.

Thu, 2009-07-09 12:10

I am a frequent user of the Canton library - I just love it! I was thinking - what if the library created a "wish list"? Offer a list of books the library wishes to purchase or people have requested. I know that I often buy books that I only read once, then they sit on my shelves. What about having patrons who enjoy best-sellers, read them, and then donate them? Or having the library partner with a store like Borders and people can buy books straight from there to be given to the library. I know that Mott Children's Hospital has done this. A wish list on Amazon would be good, too. That way, people would be able to buy a book or two and it could be shipped straight to the library, or to the patron's home, they could read it, then give it to the library. We love the library and the variety of programs and resources it provides.

Tue, 2009-07-14 09:33

Thank you, bluescrubs33, for your compliments and ideas. We certainly do take donations, which you may bring to the reception desk during our open hours, or drop off at the back of the library when we are closed. I appreciate the idea of a wish list with a book vendor, too. Thanksk for your ideas!