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About the Library — Statistics
The one word that best describes July 2008/2009 for the Santa Cruz Public Libraries (SCPL) is change and lots of it. An unprecedented national recession contributed to a deteriorating budget situation which necessitated the biggest changes, but there were many others as well- settling in to a new headquarters building, retirement of a director after 25 years, and retirement of the technical services manager. There were many challenges faced; yet there were also many accomplishments that need to be recognized. And, through it all, SCPL remained immensely popular with the community it serves as the numbers will indicate.
At the beginning of the fiscal year, five positions were eliminated. In January 2009 there was a growing realization that the financial situation was much more tenuous than believed earlier and, unless extreme measures were taken, SCPL would have a debt of over $1 million. Drastic measures were taken: the materials budget was reduced by $200,000 for the rest of the year and the library system closed on Fridays. This Friday furlough reduced full time staff salaries and hours worked by 10%. Fines were increased from $.25 to $.50 per day. The result of these efforts was a negative fund balance of $355,000 as of June 30, 2009. The City of Santa Cruz provided a loan at 2% over portfolio. Since the projections for the first half of 2009/2010 showed continued declines in sales and property tax income, with a possible flattening for the second half of the year, additional cost cutting measures were adopted for the 2009/2010 budget but that will be the story for next year's report.
What did occur in May 2009 was a determination by staff that the current system of 11 branches was not tenable financially in its current form; at least for the short term. Recommendations were made to close at least one branch but the public resistance to this was strong. The Joint Powers Board (JPB) chose to postpone such a drastic measure until the issue of how the system should be structured is determined in a more deliberate fashion.
Even though the cuts affected all staff quite personally and created financial hardship for many; most staff reacted with grace and a positive attitude. Many feel that, while this budget crisis is not something for which they would have wished, they are looking forward to the opportunity such a crisis created to closely examine SCPL's organization and to decide what it "should be."
Staff (and volunteers) found many creative ways to deal with the results of the cost cutting:
- Landscaping contracts were canceled and the in-house building maintenance staff took over this responsibility.
- When the program which brings donated books to the homeless shelter was imperiled, Outreach staff brokered a partnership between Hope Services and the homeless shelter and they are continuing the program themselves.
- The Santa Cruz Public Works Department gave a truck to the library that they were retiring. This replaced an old CNG van that could not be repaired.
- Anika Tabachnick, a young volunteer, saved her birthday money and allowance and donated it to the library. Sue Graziano, Youth Services Supervisor at the Central Library, took Anika shopping at Bookshop Santa Cruz and let Anika help select materials. Anika had a very good sense of what the collection needed and new books on sewing, crafting and cookery were purchased.
- Shifts in where staff were assigned (an even greater amount of this occurs in FYO9-10) resulted in staff working with new colleagues and in new environments and roles; thereby broadening their perspectives and experience.
- The budget for staff development was greatly reduced so staff adapted by offering mini-classes taught by staff to staff; sharing expertise without having to pay outside trainers. Better trained staff has the direct impact of improved service to the public.
There were several challenges not specifically related to the financial situation:
- There are ongoing issues involving the parking lots in Boulder Creek, Live Oak and Aptos. Staff is working with the County to improve the towing and abandoned vehicle language to allow us to deal with problems more effectively.
- Live Oak continues to have HVAC problems which are now being addressed by the original building contractor and the County. There are also issues with the irrigation system which have resulted in unusually high water bills. Monthly utility and maintenance costs at Live Oak continue to be higher than at any other location.
- While the expectation was that utility bills at Headquarters would be approximately $50 per month; what was not fully understood was that at the end of the year, we would get a "true up" bill which balances credit for solar power provided to the grid with extra power needed. Unfortunately, it was the latter and an unexpected bill for $5,000 was received in June 2009. This is about $460 per month which is still a very reasonable amount for a building of its size.
- E-rate and Calnet reimbursements/credits continue to lag.
However, there were also many accomplishments to celebrate during this difficult year. This list is by no means exhaustive but is based on input from the staff when asked to contribute their ideas for their greatest accomplishments and challenges of the past year.
- Susan Elgin performed the duties of Acting Director with exceptional fortitude; truly defining the meaning of leadership.
- There was a complete overhaul of the library's web site. There was a staff committee of 10 and the webmaster, Ann Young. The site was rebuilt from the ground up. Thousands of pages of existing content were moved into a more dynamic and database backed structure. New content was also added. Two examples are the "50Plus" section and several hundred digitized postcards. One of the biggest changes is that staff now has the ability to directly contribute to the website which is much more efficient.
- Hui-Lan Titangos was invited to attend the Fourth Shanghai International Library Forum and presented a paper entitled "Learning Library 2.0: 23 Things@SCPL" . This was co-written by Hui-Lan and Gail Mason. It introduces a successful training program organized and implemented in 2007-2008. This article was published in the conference proceedings and in the journal, Library Management. Hui-Lan also published an article, "Beyond Keeping Warm: Optimizing Crafts Resources at Santa Cruz Public Libraries" in Chinese Librarianship, an International Electronic Journal.
- Sarah Harbison and Jim Tarjan, both Reference Librarians at Central, continued teaching computer classes for the public and broadened the course offerings.
- The Aptos parking lot was finally completed.
- A new voice over IP phone system was installed at Central, Headquarters, Branciforte and Garfield Park.
- Staff from Technical Services, Outreach and System Services settled into a spacious and "green" facility.
- Two new BookBuddy volunteers (working with seniors) tried a new approach at one of the senior facilities where they were partnered with avid readers rather than having a cart in the lobby. When expanded to a second facility, there was initially only one interested client. When others saw what was happening they also wanted to participate. Now, over half the residents have BookBuddies.
- With monies from the McCaskell Trust, a new Telesensory text enlarger was set up at the Central Library.
- Grant money paid for a reorganization of the Youth Services public area at Central. A more welcoming Family Place was created in the picture book area using new rugs, cushions and drawing tables. Teens received additional shelving and two homework computers which was timely since many teens have started coming to Central with the reduction in hours at Garfield Park.
- Jeanne O'Grady chaired the Annual Beattie Award Committee which selects the best children's book about California. She was also president of the Children and Young Adult Division of the California Library Association.
- Teen programming caught fire as indicated by a 128% increase in teen program attendance. A system wide teen advisory group was formed. They chose the name ACT (Advisory Council on Teens). Teens helped with the 2008 summer reading program and had great plans for the first ever teen summer reading program in 2009. Several teens took over reading stories for the Dial-A-Story program.
- In February 2008, SCPL was awarded one of twenty statewide How I See It: My Place grants from the California Council for the Humanities. How I See It provided an opportunity for teens to share their perspectives on the communities they live in by taking photographs of the people and places important to them. The grant provided funds to hire a local professional photographer as a mentor and to support a community display of the resulting photographs. At a state training, cameras and other equipment were given to the library. After our successful project and show in the Fall of 2008, Sandi Imperio replicated the program during the 2009 summer reading program. Photos from 2008 and 2009 illustrate the teen pages of the Library website.
- Janis O'Driscoll, Youth Services Manager negotiated with BWI for compensation for losses resulting from a difficult warehouse transition. The final agreement was a $6,000 credit for materials purchases.
No annual report would be complete without looking at the "numbers" for the year. A spreadsheet with detailed data can be found in Appendix I but the narrative will examine these statistics in context and hopefully give them relevance and meaning.
The population of SCPL's service area used for this report is determined by the library Financing Authority, The LFA establishes the percentage allocation of finances between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. For 2008/2009 this number was 206,307 which represents a very small increase (.9%) over the previous year and dedicates 77.48 % of income from sales and property taxes to SCPL.
Total open hours for the year were only down by 1.4% from FY0708 despite the Friday furlough from February to June. This is because open hours per week for FY0708 were 430 per week but were increased to 444 for July-January 2008/2009 then reduced to 394 for February through June. Total open hours for the year were 22,360 for FY0708 and 22,038 for FY0809. This 1.4% decrease in overall open hours is important to remember as we look at other numbers where activity has increased despite the cut in hours. Obviously, this has important ramifications as we look at FY0910 when this decrease in open hours will be more dramatic. Appendix II is a chart showing the number of open hours since 1996. What is most alarming is the dramatic decrease in FY0809, when open hours are lower than before Measure B passed. The promise of increased open hours was key to the passage of Measure B.
We did have slightly fewer borrowers (a decrease of .6%) and an even greater drop in active borrowers (those who have used their cards in the last two years). This decrease was 8.6%. A word of caution is necessary. Patrons may be using their cards to access library databases but this would not keep them in active status if they did not also check something out during the two years.
However, overall circulation was up by 5.5% which means fewer people are checking out more materials. Circulation per capita is up 1.9%. No matter how you look at it, more materials being checked out results in more work for staff. Circulation numbers viewed in terms of the effect on staff reveal that staff is, indeed, working harder:
- Circulation per FTE is up 10.5%
- Circulation per registered borrower is up 6.1% but even more significant is that
- Circulation per ACTIVE borrower is up 15.4%
When you look at the volume with each staff member is dealing, each staff member checked out 19,257 items. This staff count includes staff, such as the Library Director, who does not check out their allotment of 19,257!
The State goal for circulation per capita is seven. Per capita circulation for SCPL was 10.57; up from 10.3 the previous year.
Yet another way to look at circulation statistics is in value to the community. Patrons checked out 81,235 children's, 2,750 young adult and 350,798 adult videos and DVDS. Adult movie theater tickets in Santa Cruz average $10 for the regular price and $7.50 for the matinee which is an average price of $8.75. Children and students pay $7.25. At these prices, the community saved $3,679,099 by checking out DVDs and Videos from the Library instead of going to the movie theater; not to mention the cost of candy, soda and popcorn.
A similar calculation for books, using the overall average price of a book at $21.50 results in a value of $17,2341,121. (Renewals were removed from the calculation. The average price in 2008 of an adult book was $22 (fiction, non fiction, hardback and trade paperback all combined equally) and the average price of all hardcover children's and YA titles was $21.00.
The number of children's programs decreased from FY0708. This led to an overall decrease in the total number of programs offered but attendance grew by 4.2% at children's programs and 8.7% overall. An astounding number of 27,979 people attended children's programs which is almost 14% of the library's service population. On the other hand, teen programs nearly doubled to 203 programs with a 128% increase in attendance as mentioned earlier; from 536 to 1,222. The number of adult programs was up slightly; 2.5% with attendance up 14.2%.
Overall, 20% of the population took advantage of a SCPL program which is a 7,7% increase over FY0708. This is probably a good indication of how people are looking for ways to find entertainment without spending money. In looking at the list of some of the programs offered, take special note of how many involved partnerships with other groups in the community:
- Central Reference staff offered 27 public classes at 7 of the branches on a variety of topics; predominantly computer and Internet.
- A public performance site license was secured for Central which enabled Central to hold its first Harry Potter Film Festival.
- Outreach expanded its partnership with Hope Services for developmentally disabled adults. Programs were added at Hope Senior Services in Aptos and a computer safety program for Hope Services clients living in the community are two examples.
- Annual shopping trips for children from Jardines del Valle and San Andreas were offered by staff so the children could spend their earned Summer Reading Dollars.
- Staff worked together to find a way to have word processing for adults at the Central branch. (This is really more of an ongoing service than a program but is important to recognize).
- Donna Swedberg, Central Branch Reference Supervisor, made a presentation to Researcher's Anonymous as part of a panel of representatives from local museums.
- Merritt Taylor's documentary film series was held for the second successful year. This program is a partnership with the Resource Center for Non-Violence.
- Adult Book Discussion kits continued to be very popular, There may be up to 60 kits checked out at any one time.
- A summer reading program for adults was offered again and was greatly appreciated by participants.
- Efforts to make sure all high school freshmen have library cards continues with school staff helping students learn how to use our databases. Participating high schools included Santa Cruz High, Harbor High, Soquel High and Holy Cross.
- Weekly visits were made to five senior facilities.
SCPL continued its focus on Early Literacy by gathering all under the umbrella of the Read to Me program. Some of the special highlights this past year include:
- Raising a Reader involved parents from the Walnut Avenue Women's Center. There was a story time followed by age appropriate crafts accompanied by a big potluck. It was an opportunity to show new parents that the library is an active and not a quiet place.
- In Aptos, the local firefighters helped out and came for story time. Kids got a tour of the fire engine and some of the firefighters read stories. The Fire Department provided hats and badges and 165 people attended.
- The Family Place series continued at four branches and a monthly story time took place at three others.
- The Read to Me resource kit circulation averaged 98 per quarter and monthly home visits continued to 20 home day care providers.
- "Together in the Park" profvides weekly programs throughout the school year. Through the First 5 grant, approximately 300 books were distributed.
- The First 5 grant also paid for Jennifer Birckmayer, child development expert from Cornell University, to present an in-service training on "The Importance of Play Early Literacy and Child Development." 28 SCPL staff attended as well as colleagues from Northern California libraries and preschools.
- Every child ages 0-5 who signed up for Summer Reading received a board book paid for by First 5 grant funds.
In looking at the library's collection there was a slight increase in the total number of items in the collection; from 513,237 to 516,167 or a .6% increase. 39,024 items were added to the collection which is 7.5% less than last year. Titles in the collection decreased by 3%. This relatively stagnant growth and drop in titles is most likely due to a $200,000 reduction in the materials budget halfway through the year. Overall expenditures for materials were reduced by 18.3% from FY0708; from over $1 million to $832,000. By policy, expenditures for materials are supposed to be 8% of the total SCPL budget. For FY0809 it was 6.3% or a 1.5% decrease from FY0708.
This reduction is reflected in the also slight (.3%) decrease in items per capita. It is not surprising that items per borrower increased by 1.2% since the number of borrowers was down by .6%. In a year of loss, staying relatively even in this area should probably be viewed as an accomplishment. However, the use rate did drop slightly (.6%) from 4.33 to 4.30. The stated goal is 5 so this must be viewed as a year where progress was not made.
By most indicators, staff was most definitely busier than in past years. The number of reference questions answered was down slightly by .4% but all other indicators increased. In looking at how busy pub1ic services staff was, the following are taken into account since staff time is directly involved: number of checked out and renewed, holds filled, and items routed in and out of each branch. Taking all of these factors into account, busyness increased by .7% despite a 1.4% loss in open hours and a 4.48% reduction in FTE. When looked at on a per FTE basis:
- Each staff member handled 15,432 items (For this calculation the number of online and phone renewals are removed from the 2008/2009 circulation figure.)
- Each staff member filled 2,251 reserves for a total of 250,987 holds filled
Holds requested increased by 8% and holds filled increased by 9.2% which indicates we were more successful in filling requests than in the past. This means that our customers more often got what they wanted.
Each borrower physically visited the library an average of 10.2 times or 2.1% more than last year. Note that this does not include online visits which will be reported next year.
Volunteers continue to contribute significantly to SCPL. While never intended to replace paid staff, they augment what staff do and free up staff to do those tasks best done by trained library staff. 551 volunteers contributed 14,378 hours or the equivalent of 6.9 FTE while this figure was 7.75 for FYO708. The value of this volunteer time is $299,781, based on the figure of $20.85/hour provided by the Independent Sector. Compared to last year, hours contributed by volunteers decreased by 10.8%.
A look at the financial picture is not particularly positive but it is the reality with which we must move forward. On the bright side fines and fees collected were up 5.5% to $250, 497. This is in part due to an increase in overdue fines mentioned in the beginning of this report. Staff also realized $318,000 in savings over the course of the year.
Revenues for the year were greatly reduced due to a 9% reduction in sales tax proceeds over the adopted budget which already took into account an estimated decline. Property tax revenue also declined but at a lower rate. Total revenues were $12,285,481. Despite the mid-year effort to save on expenditures, total expenditures for the year were $12,949,096. This resulted in a difference of $663,615. The beginning fund balance of $308,490 mitigated this deficit to $355,125.
The following have been selected as key indicators. Once again, complete data can be found in Appendix I.
|Operating Expenses/open hour||$583.40||$573.03||-1.8%|
|Percent Spending on Personnel||73.9%||73.6%||-0.5%|
|Percent Spending on Materials||7.8%||6.3%||-19.0%|
|Percent Spending on Training||0.3%||0.1%||-71.5%|
|Percent Spending on Technology||0.7%||0.8%||11.2%|
|Percent Spending on Other||17.3%||19.3%||11.4%|
Gift funds received totaled $74,125.
Comparison to libraries similar to Santa Cruz is difficult within the State of California. This area will be looked at more closely in FYO910 to determine good comparators either in California or in other parts of the United States. For this year, then, we will look at SCPL as it compares to the California state wide mean for key indicators. This comparison must be based on FYO708 data as it takes close to a year for the statewide data to be collected.
|Santa Cruz||State Mean|
|Visits per Capita||6.1||4.35|
As you can see in almost all areas we exceed the state mean. Program attendance is very close to the mean. Population served per FTE is quite a bit lower than the state mean and is probably because of the relatively large number of branches we have for the population served. Expenditures per capita are also significantly higher. This statistic is double edged. Since our materials expenditures per capita are higher than the mean, it is not surprising that expenditures over all are higher.
While FYO809 can certainly be described as challenging, many staff feel it was a wake up call and alerted all involved that change is needed and that careful consideration of the future of SCPL is needed. To that end, as we look forward to FYO910 we offer the following:
- Change in Leadership: A new Director of Libraries came on board July 1 . This, combined with the loss of two management positions and over 20 other staff positions has necessitated a look at the organizational structure. An attempt is being made to make reporting lines clearer and to make more effective use of the limited management staff available.
- A new division titled Programs and Partnerships has been created to build on the excellent groundwork that has been laid as evidenced by many of the examples presented in this report.
- Finances will continue to be a challenge. A new JPB Finance committee will work closely with the Director who, in turn, will work closely with the division managers to better monitor the financial situation in an attempt to be more nimble in responding to changes and to find and correct errors quickly.
- Technology will play an even greater role in the future of SCPL and a major financial investment in technology may be needed in order to move forward.
- Staff will spend this coming year adjusting and adapting to the losses and changes necessitated by the difficult financial situation.
- Vehicles are aging and a replacement plan is needed.
- A staff task force has been formed to look at self check in depth and determine what it will take to implement self check in a way that will really make a difference. What do we need to do to do it right which is measured by achieving 80% self check?
- And last but probably the most important: A strategic plan will be developed which will, hopefully, provide the vision from which the JPB can design a Santa Cruz Public Library System that will not just survive but flourish in the years to come.
Overall, we face many challenges. In looking back over the past year, however, it is important to recognize the positive effect we have on our community through a staff dedicated to providing the best service possible despite severe financial limitations. Staff has proven themselves to be creative and flexible; doing their best to make sure the public does not suffer when they need us the most. Who can ask for more?
APPENDIX I: ANNUAL STATISTICS FISCAL YEAR 2008-2009
|FY 07/08||FY 08/09||Percent Change|
|Percentage Active Borrowers||52.4%||48.2%||-8.6%|
|Circulation by Borrowers in our service Area||2,055,489||2,165,776||5.4%|
|Percent Self Check||0.9%||3.0%||245.7%|
|Total # of Programs||2,127||1,994||-6.3%|
|# Attending Children's||26,852||27,979||4.2%|
|# Attending Teens||536||1,222||128%|
|# Attending Adults||10,522||12,018||14.2%|
|% of Population Attending a Program||18.5%||20.0%||7.7%|
|Total # Attending||37,910||41,219||8.7%|
|Goal||FY 07/08||FY 08/09||Percent Change|
|Items in Collection||513,237||516,167||0.60%|
|Titles in Collection||431,241||418,185||-3.00%|
|# Open Hours/Week||430||394||-8.40%|
|Percent of Holds Filled||85.80%||86.80%||1.10%|
|Reference Questions Answered||300,754||299,473||-0.40%|
|Visits per Capita||6.19||6.23||0.60%|
|Visits per Borrower||9.98||10.19||2.10%|
|Busyness (per FTE)||41,451||43,706||5.40%|
|# Volunteer Hours||16,120||14,378||-10.80%|
|Value of Volunteer Hours||$314,501||$299,781||-4.70%|
|Staff per Open Hour/Week||0.27151||0.28305||4.20%|
|Beginning Fund Balance||$871,708||$308,490||-64.60%|
|Fines & Fees Collected||$237,492||$250,497||5.50%|
|Fines & Fees Outstanding||$174,843||$191,773||5.50%|
|Operating Expenses/Open Hour||$583.40||$573.40||-1.80%|
|Percent Spending on Personnel||73.9%||73.6%||-0.50|
|Percent Spending on Materials||8||7.8%||6.3%||-19.00%|
|Percent Spending on Training||0.3%||10.0%||-71.50%|
|Percent Spending on Technology||0.7%||0.8%||11.20%|
|Percent Spending on Other||17.3%||19.3%||11.4%|
|Visits per Capita||6.19||6.23|
APPENDIX II: Santa Cruz City/County Library System Open Hours Compared
|APT||BC||B40||CAP||CEN||FEL||GP||LSB||LO||SV||TOTAL||Percent Increase until 09-10|
|10% Furlough Feb 09||47||39||37||37||51||39||28||28||45||43||394|
- Outreach Courier Driver from 40 hours to 20 hours
- Outreach/Central Reference Librarian from 40 hours to 20 hours (later added 10 hours to this position and cut another LibII in Outreach to 30 hours)
- Librarian IV Head of Technical Services
- January 2010 Assistand Director
- Librarian III Facilities Development
- Technical Services 40 hour Senior Library Assistant
- 40 hour Senior Library Assistant Felton Branch Manager
- 40 hour Senior Library Assistant La Selva Beach Branch Manager
- 40 hour Senior Library Assistant Garfield Park Branch Manager
- 40 hour Senior Library Assistant Capitola Branch Manager
- 25 hour Senior Library Assistant Live Oak
- 40 hour Library Assistant Headquarters Training
- 40 hour Library Assistant Central
- 30 hour Library Assistant Scotts Valley
- 25 hour Library Assistant Branciforte
- 40 hour Library Clerk Technical Services
- 40 hour Library Clerk Branciforte
- 40 hour Library Clerk Capitola
- 30 hour Library Clerk Scotts Valley
- 30 hour Library Clerk Garfield Park
- 20 hour Library Clerk Aptos
- 24 hour Admin Assistant II Headquarters
Note 2008-2009 had cut:
- 20 hour Librarian II Central
- Librarian III Technical Services
- 40 hour Library Clerk Technical Services
- 40 hour Library Clerk Technical Services
- 20 hour Library Assistant Central YP