King County Library System
2004 Public Budget Presentation
The King County Library System is highly valued by the communities it serves and has enjoyed strong support for more than 60 years. From innovative services and an extensive collection to quality facilities, the King County Library System makes lifelong learning available to everyone.
In 2004, the King County Library System will feel the revenue-reducing impact of Initiative 747 with property tax increases limited to 1%. Even with a moderate amount of new construction across King County, KCLS will be limited to a 2.8% increase in total revenue, far less than previous years. Use of KCLS’ libraries, on the other hand, has grown dramatically. Over the past four years, circulation has increased 22% while the number of materials put on hold by our patrons has increased an astonishing 77%.
This demand has unfortunately shifted a great deal of staff work from a customer-service focus, to that of materials handling. When public demand for service is high, moving from an efficient materials handling business back to a customer-service focused business is a challenge - especially when the funds to enact change are significantly limited. KCLS is currently exploring ways to utilize technology and increase financial flexibility to actively pursue solutions to this challenge. The proposed 2004 Budget outlines these concepts in greater detail, as guided by the 2004-05 Budget Priorities.
We invite your participation in shaping the future of the King County Library System. Please take advantage of this opportunity to offer your input regarding the 2004 Budget. KCLS looks forward to continuing to meet the growing needs and expectations of our patrons, the public and communities we serve.
|Budget Priority #1
Respond to Increased Business and Workload Through New Technology and Restructuring of Activities:KCLS will reduce non-essential workload in community libraries enabling staff to focus on customer service.
A majority of our transactions rely on the circulation system software. Unfortunately, the software does not allow us to accept credit and debit cards for fines or allow us to integrate the library catalog with online databases, etc.
Implement new software in early 2004 at an estimated cost of $500,000 per year for three years.
Eliminating the Dynix maintenance cost will provide $200,000 per year to offset the implementation cost for new software.
KCLS also plans to parlay the I-Net fiber optic system with a reorganization of the AnswerLine service at Bellevue Regional Library to create a centralized call center. Hypothetically, all calls to community libraries could be fielded from a single location including reservations for computers, meeting rooms and programs. Other customer assistance could either be provided immediately or seamlessly passed to the appropriate community library.
AnswerLine currently handles about 110,000 calls per year (half are circulation-related).
A recent survey of phone traffic revealed that approximately 8,000 calls per week are placed to KCLS libraries.
Increased workload will be addressed by:
Assigning 24 additional page hours to the three busiest libraries.
Allocating $90,000 in staff hours (primarily page level positions) to the Shipping Department.
The Shipping Department lacks space to handle the volume of materials processed. To meet the need in a cost effective manner, KCLS will relocate shipping operations to leased space near Preston.
Strategic implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and robotics, especially in shipping operations, will be important in shifting from a materials-handling focus to customer-service focus. The proposed system can automatically sort and check in millions of items. As part of this process, non-print media such as DVDs, videos and CDs would have RFID tags, which alert staff if the material is being stolen from the library.
The total cost of the system is $3.6 million: $1.3 million for the conveyor robotics, $1.7 million for the automated bins, and $600,000 to tag media with RFID chips.
Funding would come from a variety of sources:
1) $1.5 million from the fund balance over the next two years
2) $1.2 million in the preliminary budget for new technologies
3) $900,000 from the materials budget
|Budget Priority #2
Collection Development: KCLS’ long-term commitment to collection development includes reducing the average age of the collection, higher collection turnover and ensuring the availability of materials for homework help and recreational reading.
Unless $900,000 of the collection budget is used to fund the
automated shipping system, the materials budget in 2004 will total $10,260,000.
The materials budget provides $6.6 million for books, $1.8 million for non-print materials, $1 million for electronic resources and $800,000 for periodicals.
The turnover rate for KCLS’ collection of nearly 4 million items has increased by 10.4% since last year. The number of copies per title has also increased.
These purchases and an aggressive weeding program designed to remove more than 350,000 old or worn items, have decreased the average age of the collection.
The highly successful “Choice Reads” paperback collection, generates more than 300,000 circulations per year with a turnover rate nearly double the rest of KCLS’ collection, and will receive $260,000.
KCLS will continue to offer eBooks. In the first month, 80% of available eBooks were checked out.
|Budget Priority #3
Customer Focused Services and Environments: KCLS will continue to make the use of the library easy and convenient for patrons.
By 2004 all libraries will have Self-Checkout stations,
enabling patrons to check out their own materials and allowing staff to better
assist the public. Armed with electronic tablets for access to the catalog
and databases, librarians will be able to assist patrons anywhere in the library.
KCLS plans to introduce webBranch, a virtual branch that will group many online resources into a familiar and useful space similar to an actual community library.
Plans are underway for the first Virtual Branch. This location will provide wireless connectivity and 24-hour holds pickup through a kiosk, while offering automated access, security of library materials and patron privacy.
The number of content search categories within libraries is being reduced from more than 250 separate collection areas to only 75 codes to simplify searches for information.
Funding is included for improved signage, displays and special features, such as plasma screens for art. Friends of the Library groups will provide additional financial support for these projects.
To build on the success of the Library Connection @ Crossroads, a facility that rivals the busiest of KCLS libraries, the KCLS Foundation is raising $850,000 for the Library Connection @ Southcenter. KCLS has leased a 3,000 square-foot space tentatively scheduled to open in May 2004.
|Budget Priority #4
Maintenance and Repair: Over time, extensive work on infrastructure will be required to maintain the functionality and safety of all libraries.
Over the next ten years it will cost more than $40 million to maintain all 42 libraries in the System as they are today.
Facilities maintenance will cost $10.5 million in 2004. As KCLS libraries age, the nature and extent of repairs grows more complex as illustrated by the significant increase in maintenance costs over the past few years.
Extensive interior upkeep will be performed in seven libraries with a focus on changes to circulation and reference areas, carpeting and furniture.
Major mechanical work is needed at Fairwood, Bellevue Regional, Skyway and Woodinville libraries.
The Service Center and twelve community libraries will have scheduled upgrade of computers (WAVE) including installation of thin client workstations and additional wireless outlets.
KCLS will spend over $1 million for ongoing maintenance including daily cleaning and periodic carpet cleaning.
Preventive maintenance for heating and air conditioning systems will cost $280,000.
Ten vehicles in KCLS’ fleet of 47 will be replaced including three shipping trucks.
KCLS plans to pursue a replacement capital bond measure in 2004 to address the System’s capital needs beyond 2004.
|Budget Priority #5
Kids, Schools and Reading Initiatives: KCLS places a high priority on effectively providing children’s and young adult services and literary resources for all ages.
Reading Initiative: Reader’s advisory
services will be available online via “New Reads,” e-mail alert
services and the video clip service. AmeriCorps and KCLS Literacy Talk Times
and ESL classes will continue.
Education Initiative: KCLS will continue to provide free library cards to all students. Librarians will visit schools to promote reading and homework resources. Study Zones at 24 libraries supplement extensive reference resources. The successful Global Reading Challenge, in which students compete to display knowledge of the books they read, now includes more than 40 schools.
Youth Services Initiative: All KCLS libraries have Children’s and Young Adult librarians for young patrons. Story Times continue to encourage a love of reading. KCLS will provide materials and training to daycare providers, Books to Grow On and KidReach will aid children throughout King County. The KCLS Foundation will provide financial support for many of these vital programs.
Recruitment and Training Program to Support KCLS Vision: KCLS strives to ensure that libraries and departments are adequately staffed while providing training for employees to advance in their jobs.
KCLS staffing level will remain fairly stable in 2004. In total, 1,239 staff members will fill 741 full-time equivalent positions, only slightly more than 2003.
Personnel costs in 2004 will total $44 million, slightly less than 58% of the total budget as compared to 63% for other large U.S. libraries.
KCLS’ Human Resources Department will adopt a new
competency-based approach for evaluating and qualifying applicants. A system
tailored to seek candidates with customer service attributes will be instituted.
In February 2004, the bi-annual Public Library Association Conference will be held in Seattle. Over 15,000 librarians will attend this conference, providing an opportunity for KCLS staff to easily and inexpensively learn about the best practices in public librarianship.
The Conference Attendance budget of about $100,000 will be supplemented by $140,000 for training activities.
Adequate Fund Balance to Preclude Levy Lid Lift for 2005: KCLS must preserve its cash position over the next few years to supplement the relatively small increase in property tax revenues.
While KCLS plans to put a bond measure before voters in 2004, assessed value growth in King County has slowed.
Because a levy lid lift would have little impact on revenue, yet could generate up to $1 million in election costs, it is imperative that KCLS operate within the bounds of the current levy rate and the 1% property tax limit.
Using projected revenues and expenses for 2004 and 2005, KCLS has compiled a budget scenario with a target Ending Fund Balance in 2005 of $5 million. This scenario assumes a modest growth in expenditures.
A 1% salary increase is projected for 2004 and 2005.
- Step increases based on length of service increase the salaries by another 2.5% per year.
- Associated benefits will increase by 11.2% and 15% respectively, driven by substantially more expensive healthcare benefits.
In 2005, the Ending Fund Balance will actually be about $1.5 million more than the $5 million target. This amount, combined with $1.2 million from the ITS budget and $900,000 from the Collection budget, provides enough funding to complete technological improvements needed to address increased demands for service.