From WILL - News Local/State -

Champaign Library Trustees To Discuss Budget, Revenue Issues

Trustees for the Champaign Public Library will continue their discussion of ways to offset a projected $300,000 budget shortfall at their meeting Thursday at 5:30 PM at the library.

The Champaign City Council gave the library emergency funding for the current fiscal year, ending June 30th 2015. But they’ve said that bailout won’t be repeated.

Library Board President Trisha Crowley says if they have to cut spending next year, they’ll probably have to cut hours, and she wants to avoid closing the library on Sundays.

“We have a huge number of people that are able only to visit on Sunday”, said Crowley. “Hours is service, so that’s going to be one of our primary goals to reduce the impact as much as we can.”

Champaign Library Trustee Scott Pickard chairs a subcommittee looking for new revenue. He says one possibility is opening up a co-working space in the library basement.

According to Pickard, the co-working space would be some place “where aspiring entrepreneurs can meet and network, have services available to them to help them start and develop their business; and coupled with that, possibly, could be an area where they could actually build prototypes, to test things out, to make things.”

Pickard speculates that membership fees for the co-working space might bring in anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 a year.

Trustees are also exploring ways to beef up the Friends of the Library bookshop, which already contributes about $80,000 annually to the library, from sales of used books at its store in the library and on Amazon.com. A campaign to promote more public donations to the Champaign Public Library Foundation is another possibility. Parking meters in the library parking lot are also an option --- but one Pickard says he’d like to avoid. Library Board President Trisha Crowley agrees, saying that parking meters would require a sizable initial investment, disrupt other parking in the neighborhood and provide little potential for future revenue growth.

Crowley says trustees would not make any final decisions at Thursday’s library board meeting, although they might agree on whether to continue exploring the parking meter proposal. Champaign library officials are expected to finalize their budget proposal early next year, when more is known about the state of property tax revenue.

Categories: Government