Henderson Libraries continues to struggle with budget shortfalls

Shrinking budget affects collection; libraries’ foundation to raise money to help

HENDERSON, Nev. – Times have been tough for everyone, and Henderson Libraries is no exception. In fact, as a result of its shrinking budget, the district is struggling to keep its collection fully stocked.

“For the last few years we have tried to maintain a ratio of one copy of a title for every four holds placed on it. At this point, we are trying to maintain one copy for every six holds,” said Tom Fay, executive director for Henderson Libraries. “This could mean a wait of about 18 weeks for materials with long waiting lists, assuming that every person keeps books out for the full three-week loan period, but no longer.”

In fiscal year 2007, $920,038 in local revenue was spent on materials for the public collections. In fiscal year 2010, $693,234 in local revenue was spent. (This does not include grants or donations.) This is a decrease of 25 percent. 

While the total spent for 2007 was the most the district has spent in one year and, thus, is not the former “norm,” the decrease is still significant – especially considering the district added Green Valley Library and the Galleria Library in fiscal year 2009, which increased circulation about 30 percent.   

In general, as a result of the economy, library use has gone up. In fact, in 2010 the circulation of materials checked out reached 1,842,395.

To offset such challenges, Henderson Libraries has implemented a hiring freeze, a VESP program, reductions in open hours (11 hours per week in the larger buildings since 2008), 10 percent reduction in staff work hours and salaries. 

It’s for these reasons that the financial support the Henderson Libraries Foundation provides is more important than ever before.

The Henderson Libraries Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization funded by donations of gifts, grants and bequests, helps Henderson Libraries in its mission to create a literate community by providing financial support over and above the annual operating fund. Henderson Libraries relies on the support of the Foundation to continue to provide funds for the following areas: library collections; outreach services; innovative technology; capital projects; and scholarships.

The Foundation’s goal for 2011 is to raise $1 million from April 2011 to April 2012 to benefit Henderson Libraries. The money raised will go toward building the book collections at the six Henderson Libraries locations.

The campaign will be called “$1 for a Million” and will encourage library users to donate at least a dollar to the foundation every time they visit the library. Statistics show 60 percent of users visit the library at least twice per week. In addition to giving at any of the library locations, patrons will be able to give online at www.hendersonlibrariesfoundation.org.

The Henderson Libraries Foundation, the libraries’ nonprofit support system, hopes to fill the void through community donations and the $1 for a Million campaign, planned for launch in April. “If every patron could spare $1 every time they come in to check out a book, audio book or DVD they checked out, we would easily reach the $1 million goal,” Fay said. “This also allows the community to help its local libraries and learn exactly where its money is going and how it will be used.”

Upon completion of the Foundation’s goal to raise $1 million to benefit the library district’s collection, it aims to raise additional funds for a library endowment. This would allow Henderson Libraries to function through the slow economic times, which are estimated to affect the district for the next five to 10 years.

The Henderson Libraries Foundation has been financially and publicly supporting the programs and collections of Henderson Libraries through charitable and educational activities since 1999.

Established in 1943 as a single library in Downtown Henderson, Henderson Libraries operates six locations throughout Henderson. Henderson Libraries cooperates with other public libraries in Southern Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Clark County School District and all other libraries around the state to provide quality service for Nevada’s residents.

For additional information on this event or Henderson Libraries and its many services and resources, visit www.mypubliclibrary.com or call 702-492-6581.