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Yorkville library faces budget crisis

Updated: February 13, 2013 12:51PM

YORKVILLE – The city library here could be in trouble.

Library board officials said this week they are putting together a 2014 fiscal year budget that will include, among other things, a total of nothing for purchase of books.

“I’ve been on the board for years, through the good times and the bad times, and this is really the bad times,” Barb Johnson, board vice president, told the City Council this week.

Johnson appeared before the board with general comments about the library. She said she and other board members would return Feb. 26 with more specific numbers about what the library budget would be. Johnson said the Library Board met this week and the budget numbers started to become clear.

“Right now, it was important to let them (the City Council) know that we’re in trouble,” she said.

The main reason for the crisis is the assessed value in Yorkville’s city limits that has been declining the past several years. The library is funded by its own tax levy, which has been at its maximum for a while.

What is has meant to the library specifically is cuts and cuts, Johnson said. She pointed out that in 2009, the library budgeted $64,000 for new books. That line item will be down to zero for the coming budget year.

The library has cut its hours, cut staff development completely, cut out maintenance, data bases, information technology maintenance and magazine subscriptions, including online ones.

“We had to cut the books just to keep the doors open, and we’ve cut hours, anyway,” Johnson said. “We cannot maintain the building the way we want to.”

The City Council this week began looking at its 2014 fiscal year budget, which begins in May. Johnson pleaded with aldermen to consider additional money for the library in its budget discussions.

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