Revenue Shortfall Reduces Library Hours and Services

At its May 20, 2010 board meeting, the Library District’s Board of Trustees adopted the FY 2010-2011 budget starting July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011. The budget’s General Fund, or operating fund, is $52.5 million.

“Although demand for library services has never been higher,” comments the Board’s Chair, Francie Barron, “a projected total revenue shortfall of $5 million necessitated staff layoffs; cuts to library services, including reduction in the library materials budget; and reduction in open hours.” 

“We took a hard look at where our money goes,” says the District’s Executive Director, Jeanne Goodrich. “We made some painful decisions. With 64% of the budget going to salaries and benefits, we needed either concessions from the bargaining unit representing full time staff, or a reduction in force in order to balance the budget. The District would have preferred to reach our number while retaining all of our excellent staff. Unfortunately, the District was not able to reach an agreement with the union in a timely manner. The layoff process will begin starting the first week of June.” 

The Library District is an independent taxing entity that levies and collects its own taxes. Ninety-five percent of the District’s revenue is from a combination of property tax and the consolidated sales tax. With Las Vegas leading the nation in home foreclosures and suffering a dismal economy that has seen record unemployment, the District forecasts that its General Fund revenue for Fiscal Year 2010-2011 starting July 1, 2010 will be 7.7% lower than projected revenue for FY 2009-2010. 

“The reduction in library services is especially difficult now,” says Executive Director Goodrich. “Our community is relying on us more than ever before to use free computers to look for and apply for jobs; to save money by borrowing materials; to find help with credit counseling and foreclosures; and to attend free classes in resume writing and financial health. We are pleased, however, that we are able to keep our urban libraries open seven days a week.” 

The Library District began making budget cuts two years ago to offset revenue reductions and continued to cut deeper into the FY 2009-2010 budget in response to worsening news from analysts and the reduced revenue received during the year. 

The District’s administration made significant cuts across all District departments in order to minimize the impact of the revenue shortfall on library staff. Ultimately, however, the unprecedented decline in revenue required the elimination of 93 staff positions — 19 full time positions, 23 part time positions, 39 previously frozen positions and 12 positions vacated by staff who participated in the Voluntary Employee Separation Program. 

Additional impacts of the Adopted Budget include: 

  • Change in open hours for urban libraries from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday open hours will be unchanged, at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Reduction in the library materials budget from 20% of the General Fund Revenue to 15%, or $7.7 million.
  • Reduction in Library-sponsored programs. 

The Adopted Budget 2010-2011 will be available on the District’s web site at in mid-June.