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2014 Budget Approved

At the Budget Hearing on September 19, 2013, the Library Board of Trustees adopted the 2014 budget and set the 2014 millage rate. The millage rate remains the same at 1.5437, and the total 2014 budget of $5,599,410 reflects use of some of our Fund Balance (essentially, our savings account) to 1) make building improvements, and 2) bring the library's pension account to 100% funding.

1) As a result of patron feedback and suggestions, our 2012-2015 Strategic Plan includes a comprehensive look at how library spaces are used, how that usage has changed over time, and what changes you'd like to see to improve our interactions with you. In addition to your feedback and suggestions, we also considered the entire building; the original library building is now 25 years old, and the library additions are now 12 years old. Much of our equipment and fixtures date back to the original construction and are due (some overdue) for replacement. In 2013, we were able, through donations and use of Fund Balance, to update and renovate some library spaces--new study rooms were added in the east wing of the library, and renovations were done in our Community Room and Quiet Study Room, as well as in the staff kitchen. These updates and replacements will continue in 2014 with updates to the main area of the library, with our Patron Service Improvement Project (PSI Project).

Reciprocal Borrowing 2012 - Board Presentation

At the Board of Trustees meeting on February 21, 2013, Circulation Services Department Head Nancy Szczepanski provided an overview of reciprocal borrowing. Nancy reviewed 2012 checkouts from our library by residents of other communities, and vice-versa, particularly since the board approval of changes to our Circulation Policy last year. The updated policy affirmed our commitment to sharing with and supporting our neighbors while preserving primary access to Canton taxpayers.

Nancy's presentation, attached here as a .pdf, gave the Board good background on checkouts of our materials by patrons of other libraries, and I hope that you find it useful and interesting, also.

Best,
Eva Davis signature
Eva M. Davis, Director

2012 Budget Hearing

Our Library Board of Trustees will hold the required Public Hearing on Thursday, September 15, at 7:30pm at the library to take public comment on and approve the library's 2012 budget (attached, with a comparison to our approved 2011 budget), levying a millage rate of 1.5437 mills to generate total revenue of $4.9 million. This is a reduction of about $40,000 compared to our 2011 budget, and a total reduction of about $1.9 million compared to our 2008 budget — 2008 was our "high-water" mark as far as revenues; the recession led to declining property values, which leads to reduced property tax collections and a smaller budget for library services.

Connect Your Summer Feedback

Our new Connect Your Summer program reinvented the Canton Public Library's traditional summer reading program. Connect Your Summer simplified and streamlined participation by creating one program for all ages that could be completed singly or as a group, team, or family. While we continue to offer a paper-based format, Connect Your Summer was primarily designed to be completed online—so you could complete your log at anytime, from anywhere—and allowed library staff to provide more meaningful interactions with you through our increased programming and events. Badges could be earned by reading as well as other means. Our overarching mission is "Connecting Your Community," and Connect Your Summer focused on community partners, community events, and shared experiences, with the library serving as the hub.

Because Connect Your Summer is a new approach to summer library programming, we are asking you to provide feedback to help us learn from and improve it:

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts with us!

Sincerely,

Eva Davis, Director

Troy Public Library to Remain Open

Congratulations to our colleagues at the Troy Public Library! After several years of cuts and threatened closures by city council, previous failed millage votes, and a dire economic situation, Troy voters passed a dedicated library millage of .7 mills annually for five years on August 2. This new dedicated millage means that TPL will not close, and will allow them to maintain library services to their community at state-mandated levels. Troy is a great community that deserves a great library. Everyone at Canton Public Library sends our best as the TPL board and staff work over the next several months to rebuild TPL. Congratulations!

Update on Services to Garden City Public Library Cardholders

Eva Davis at sorterCongratulations to Garden City residents, and to all Garden City Public Library cardholders, on the July 18 reopening of the Garden City Public Library.

The Garden City Public Library has announced that they will be open for thirty hours, five days per week, from July 18 through at least the November millage election. Unfortunately, these hours will not meet the minimum requirements for state certification. As a result, the Canton Public Library will not resume reciprocity with Garden City Public Library at this time.

Welcome to Connect Your Summer!

Eva DavisWelcome to Connect Your Summer 2011, our new Summer program that encourages you to connect to the Canton community through reading and activities.

Connect Your Summer is truly a community-wide program. Like our logo, the library is the hub of Connect Your Summer, with spokes leading out to our partners: the Friends of the Library, Canton Leisure Services, the Canton Downtown Development Authority, the Canton Chamber of Commerce, the Cherry Hill Village Theater, the Michigan Philharmonic, and others.

Sign in to your individual, family, pair, or group account to start earning virtual badges for reading, attending community events, attending library programs, attending programs put on by one of our partners, visiting places in our community, using the library, or for activities you come up with on your own. As you complete activities, click 'Claim' next to the appropriate badge to get that badge. Publish your earned badges and write reviews of your activities to share your experiences with other Connect Your Summer participants.

Connect Your Summer is designed to be completed online, at your own pace, when it is convenient for you. Want to mark your badge completed at 10:30 at night? No problem! Do you find it tough to keep track of reading logs for every member of your family? There are no more paper logs to keep track of (or lose!). Have you wished you could take a solitary activity and make it a group event? Now you can — create a new account to register for Connect Your Summer as a group, and because it's one program designed for all ages, you can earn your badges together.

I am proud of the work my staff has done to create this innovative new program that turns the traditional library Summer program on its head and allows for multiple ways to participate, at a level that you can tailor to meet your needs. Our overarching goal with Connect Your Summer is to encourage you to make connections within your community. I think that you, your family, and your friends will enjoy the variety of ways you can use Connect Your Summer to learn more about your neighbors and the entire Canton community.

Best,
Eva Davis' signature
Eva M. Davis, Director

Services to Garden City Public Library Cardholders

Eva DavisTo all Garden City residents and Garden City Public Library cardholders:

In preparation for their anticipated closing due to lack of funding, the Garden City Public Library has announced that the last day they will lend materials is Thursday, May 26, 2011. GCPL will remain open to the public to use materials within the building until June 25, 2011.

Update on Services to Romulus Public Library Cardholders

Eva DavisCongratulations to Romulus residents, and to all Romulus Public Library cardholders, on the Romulus City Council's recent decisions to establish a PA 164 independent city library and appoint a five-member library board.

The newly-created library board's announcement that they will open the Romulus Public Library for eight hours, one day per week, through the first week of July, and their plan to fund the library at .12 mills after that for service three days per week, is a great start to getting the new independent library started.

Services to Romulus Public Library Cardholders

Eva Davis, DirectorTo all Romulus residents, and to all Romulus Public Library cardholders:

In preparation for their anticipated closing on May 1, the Romulus Public Library has stopped checking out all materials. As a member of The Library Network cooperative, the Romulus Public Library had a reciprocal borrowing agreement in place that allowed you to use neighboring libraries.

While we here at the Canton Public Library are happy to reciprocate with other communities, that reciprocity is based on mutual sharing; we cannot bear the financial burden of serving Romulus residents when Romulus is eliminating funding for their library.

Losing Libraries

Everyone here at CPL is sad and upset to see libraries in our state affected by the economy. In addition to the May 1, 2011 closure of the Troy Public Library, the Detroit Public Library will announce layoffs, and the Romulus Public Library may also be closed after a proposed millage failed earlier this week. Coupled with proposed funding cuts at the state level, libraries and library services in Michigan are in jeopardy. As I've discussed with you before, CPL is not immune from these cuts.

That's what makes an article like this one from Scott Turow such a mood-lifter for the CPL family. Our featured author at our 2010 Everyone's Reading program, Mr. Turow spoke to a capacity crowd at the Village Theater last February, staying afterward to answer questions, autograph books, and talk to fans. Despite the bleak outlook for the next several years, we here at CPL will continue to strive for excellence in programs, collections, and services, meeting the needs of our community, as Mr. Turow outlines in his article, while maintaining a balanced budget and living within our means.

How the Governor's Proposed Budget Affects CPL

Governor Snyder released his budget proposal last week, and as expected, the news is grim. The cuts to public, school, and university libraries across the state are significant, and will affect the services that CPL will be able to provide to our community — namely, interlibrary loan and research databases.

The Governor has proposed cutting state aid to libraries to $3 million. The statutorily-required funding is $15 million. The current funding level of $5 million automatically qualifies the state to receive a federal matching grant of $5 million, which pays for MeLCat (statewide interlibrary loan) and the Michigan eLibrary (MeL — statewide research databases). Cutting state aid results in a cut to, and possibly a loss of, the matching grant, which puts MeL and MeLCat in jeopardy.

MeL and MeLCat exemplify the resource-sharing, aggregation of services, eliminating duplication of effort, and economies of scale that the Governor has emphasized over and over. More than 300 libraries — public libraries, K-12 libraries, and university libraries — pool this funding to provide services to Michigan residents. The $5 million investment by the state nets a $5 million matching grant, and saves taxpayers nearly $72 million annually, when you consider the cost to each library if they had to purchase these same resources on their own.

2011 Approved Budget

At its September Budget Hearing, the Library Board of Trustees approved the library's 2011 budget (attached, with a comparison to our 2008 budget, which was our last budget before the recession hit), levying a millage rate of 1.5437 mills to generate total revenue of $4.9 million. This is a reduction of about $300,000 compared to our 2010 budget, and a reduction of about $1.6 million compared to our 2008 budget.

$4.9 million is the size our budget was in 2004, when we served 15,000 fewer people, checked out 600,000 fewer items, and had 40% more staff. It is ironic that these library cuts come at a time when our community needs us now more than ever to help you cope with the down economy. In 2011, further cuts have been made to nearly all line items, notably staffing, materials, supplies, and programming.

2011 Budget Process Underway for CPL

The budget outlook for the library remains bleak in 2011. As I wrote last year, the deepening recession and declining property values mean less money coming in to the library — 95% of our 2010 revenues come from taxes Canton property owners pay to support library programs, collections, and services — which means more cuts for the next several years.

In 2011, our budget will drop another $300,000, to $4.9 million, bringing our cumulative total cuts since 2008 to $1.6 million. $4.9 million is the size our budget was in 2004, when we served 15,000 fewer people, checked out 600,000 fewer items, and had 40% more staff.

Do Library Summer Reading Programs Make Better Students?

The Dominican University Graduate School of Library & Information Science has released the results of their three-year study (2006-2009) on the impact of public library summer reading programs on student achievement. The results? Students who participate in summer reading programs at their public library score higher than their non-summer reading classmates on reading achievement tests when they return to school. Additionally, by the third grade, students who participate in summer reading demonstrate better reading skills and better standardized test scores by a significant margin.

Working to Improve Our Service to You

Our new returns system is here! This new system will allow us to better serve you and more accurately handle the 2 million+ items you checkout each year by automatically checking in returns as you put them into the slot. "Why aren't my returned items checked in yet"? is the most common question we receive over the phone and through our website, and our new system will take care of most of those issues.

With our budget cuts due to the recession — we've cut nearly 20%, or $1.2 million, from our budget since 2008 — we have held nearly all vacant positions open to save money. With fewer people working, but ever-increasing demand for materials (we hit a record of 2 million checkouts in 2009), we have struggled to keep up with all of the work that needs to be done. Many of you have experienced this when you return an item to the library and it takes us a day to clear your record. After holiday closures, it was not uncommon for us to need several days to catch up with all of the returns. We are only human, and simply reached a breaking point where our manual processes could not keep up.

Realizing that we were overwhelmed, a team of library staff who know and do the work examined how we do things and made suggestions for improvement. One of their suggestions was to install an automated checkin and sorting system (the conveyor system we are using is the same as/similar to conveyor and sorting systems used by UPS, USPS, Netflix, and Wal-Mart) that would let us devote more staff time to shelving and other patron services, such as retrieving and processing holds. These suggestions coincided with our need to upgrade our RFID inventory system, and last year we began the work of retagging all of our 300,000 materials with new RFID tags, eliminating nearly all of the locking cases that so many of you hated, and six months ago we launched new checkout, self-checkout, and processing equipment.

This past spring, our Copy Center services were distributed to other areas of the library, and the room converted for the new Sorting Room. New outside and inside return slots were installed, which feed directly into that space. The sorting system arrived this week, and today's launch of our new Sorting Room marks the end of this long journey. The majority of returns will be checked in and removed from your record automatically and pre-sorted into categories (bins). This means fewer hands have to touch items to get them back on the shelves. This, along with the other improvements made and suggested by our staff, means your library card record is more accurate, we will make fewer errors, and you'll see faster turn-around of items to the hold shelf or their home shelf location.

Check out our video for a demonstration, or stop by during our regular hours to look through the glass doors and see the sorting system in action.

These improvements were funded through the library's savings account and the generous donations of the Friends of the Library. We still have some kinks to work out — nicer signage for the new outside return slot, for example, among other things — and I thank you for your support, patience, and good humor while we work on fine-tuning our new system.

Best,

Eva M. Davis, Director

2009 Annual Report Now Available

Our 2009 Annual Report is now available. Our sincere thanks to all of you who supported the library in 2009 — patrons, volunteers, Friends of the Library, and contributors to our Endowment and Operating Funds. While the recession has affected our bottom line, the library Board of Trustees and our great library staff remain committed to continuing our core services to you and demonstrating good stewardship of your tax dollars and donations. For example, we are presenting our annual report in an online-only format for the first time, which reduces our design, printing, and mailing costs. Placing our annual report online also achieves one of our strategic planning objectives: Being more transparent about our operations and communicating more directly with you, our public.

Anna Slaughter, award winning librarian!

I am pleased to announce that one of our librarians has been named a top librarian in Michigan! Anna Slaughter is the 2010 recipient of the Michigan Library Association's Frances H. Pletz Award for excellence in service to teens. I, along with her colleagues from the Children's, Tween, and Teen department and several members of her family, were on hand last night when the award was announced at the MLA conference in Kalamazoo.

CPL has been blessed with supportive patrons and an excellent staff. We are proud to have one of our own singled out for the wonderful work she does with teenagers in our community. Please join me in congratulating Anna on this accomplishment!

2010 Approved Budget

At its September Budget Hearing, the Library Board of Trustees approved the library's 2010 budget (attached), levying a reduced millage rate of 1.4980 mills to generate total revenue of $5.2 million.  This is a reduction of about $600,000 compared to our 2009 budget, and a reduction of about $1.2 million compared to our 2008 budget.  While cuts had to be made to balance the budget as required by law, the Library Board also directed the administration team to preserve our 7-day operation and maintain our 72 hours of library service per week.  I am pleased to report that we've achieved these goals without permanently cutting library hours or having to enforce furlough days or layoffs.

These necessary cuts are a result of several factors, which all fall under the umbrella of "the recession:" 

Interlibrary Loan & Research Databases at Risk

MeLYesterday, the Michigan legislature's budget conference committee proposed another 40% cut to funding for joint library services, from $10 million to $6 million. A minimum funding level of $10 million is required to receive federal matching grant dollars of $5 million. These federal matching funds for MeLCat interlibrary loan and 25 MeL databases are at stake; due to the local economy and cuts to local funding associated with the recession, the Canton Public Library does not have the revenue to pay for interlibrary loan or online genealogical, historical, or reference products if the state legislature does not act to maintain statewide library services — Canton residents would lose access to these resources.