In the very early morning hours of Sept. 24, the City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the City of Jacksonville. After much debate, the Council voted to restore the previously approved budget lapse, which for the library would have meant $349,638 less to spend next year. Unfortunately, the across-the-board cut to overtime and the 10 percent reduction in the part-time budget remains.
We plan to use the restored lapse funds to pay overtime and other expenses to keep five libraries open on Sunday through the year. This will include the Highlands Branch Library, Webb Wesconnett, Southeast, and Pablo Creek Regional Libraries and the Main Library.
We have suspended service at the Willowbranch Branch Library since Sept. 10 due to serious issues related to water intrusion. The Public Works Department is assessing the damage and what will be required to make repairs sufficient to allow us to resume service. The public is invited to hear an update from the Public Works Department on Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at Riverside Avenue Christian Church, 2841 Riverside Avenue, between Cherry St. and Mallory St., three blocks south of St. Vincent's Hospital.
While we are sorry to see our overtime and part-time budgets cut, we are pleased no staff positions were eliminated and our materials budget was not reduced as it has been in years past. As a library, our product is books and other materials. Our customers expect—and deserve—to find relevant materials on the shelf or online when they want them.
Today starts a new fiscal year for the library. We are excited about the many creative programs and new, innovative services planned for the new year—all part of fulfilling our mission: to enrich lives, build community, and foster success by bringing people, information, and ideas together.
Thank you for your ongoing support of your library.