Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's raining, it's pouring...

Unfortunately, it's also dripping in the library. Even with regular maintenance an upkeep, things get old - especially heavily-used public buildings. At 19 years old, the roof and HVAC systems are reaching the end of their expected lifespans (generally 15-20 years). As extensive repairs and/or replacement becomes necessary, those costs will impact the library's budget. The building looks good and has been well-maintained - but it will not last forever without updating.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Volunteers Needed!

Volunteers are needed for Summer Reading and special projects throughout the year.

The annual volunteer boot camp, where volunteers help staff prepare for Summer Reading, will be held May 26th through 28th.

Volunteers are needed for Registration Week June 1st through 6th to act as guides for registrants.

Throughout the 2 months of Summer Reading, volunteers may also act as reading mentors or help with special programs.

At the Grande Finale event on August 1st, volunteers are needed to take tickets, help with the ice cream social, staff games and more.

Contact Ceil Carey at 815-327-2524 for more information. Email, text and IM contacts are also always welcome!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Twenty years of tax rate

This chart shows 20 years of the Plainfield Library's tax rate. The bonds to building the current library were passed by voters in 1990, creating the sharp increase from 1989 to 1990. As you can see, the rate has declined steadily over time, 53% since the bond issue was passed in 1990. The tax rate requested in 2009 was consistent with the rate approved in the 1990 referendum.

Apologies for the size - Blogger won't let me make it bigger. But if you click on the image, it will open a new window with the chart only in a larger, more legible view.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2008 Property Tax Bills and Library Budget

2008 tax bills have arrived in homes. The Plainfield Public Library District's tax rate has gone up for the first time since 1991, due to the complexities of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, commonly known as the tax cap. The tax cap is based on a limit of the Consumer Price Index, which in 2008 was 4.1% the highest since the inception of the cap. The tax cap generally reduces a voter-approved tax rate. The Library’s tax rate is within the voter-approved rate according to the tax cap calculations. The increase in the Library's rate this year is 0.6% or ninth hundredths of a penny per hundred dollars of valuation. For the average home in the library district, this increase is $0.90 for the year if the home’s assessed value remained the same from 2007 to 2008. Overall, the Library's tax rate has fallen more than 45% since the inception of the tax cap and more than 6% over the last three years.

You can find more information about property taxes on the Will County Tax Extension web site , Illinois Department of Revenue's Taxpayer Answer Centerand on the Illinois property tax system in general.

As we enter into the budgeting cycle for the new fiscal year beginning July 1, the conservative budgeting practices of past Library Boards ensure that the Library’s budget remains in the black. However, projections show expense increases for state-mandated items like pensions and liability insurance outstripping revenue, as interest income declines. Many budget lines will be frozen in the coming year in order to cover the rising costs in other areas. I have requested that the Library Board of Trustees freeze my salary for the upcoming year to help maintain a balanced budget. We are fortunate that the Plainfield Library is in a position to maintain services without major cuts. We are able to maintain the standards set forth in Serving Our Public: Standards for Illinois Public Libraries in our budget allocations, including a minimum of 12% of operating expenditures for library materials.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bestselling author, award-winning musician headline fantastic summer program line up!

Summer Reading is just around the corner! Registration for the Reading program begins June 1. We have an amazing calendar of events for the whole family!

Elizabeth Berg will be at the Library on June 6 at 2pm. Ms. Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including Dream When You're Feeling Blue, We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah's Book Club selection in 2000. Pre-registration is required.

Award-winning musician Jim Gill will perform his hand-clapping, foot-stomping, fun-for-the-whole-family concert on June 9 at 11am. Also an award-winning author, Jim combines reading and music as parents and kids read and sing along. Pre-registration is required.

Unfortunately, registration is very limited for these events since we don't have an auditorium to accommodate more residents. Pre-registration is required for nearly every program offered at the library due to space constraints and high demand. However, we don't let that stop us for presenting some fantastic programs for as many people as we can possibly fit!

Here's more of what's happening this summer:
Learn a new skill with our free computer classes on Word, Excel, or Publisher. Go green with our Green Village series, in cooperation with Conservation Plainfield. Join a book discussion group. Write the novel you've always dreamed of with the help of one of our writers groups. Bring your baby to lapsit storytime. Encourage your reluctant reader by reading to therapy dogs at Paws to Read. Find a job with the help of our Internet Job Searching class and visits by the Will County Work Force Services Mobile Learning Center. Put on a play with Drama Club. Learn about a new culture with Culture Club. And this lists is not even half of what is going on in the month of June alone...

Enjoy your summer with Plainfield Library!