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As a result of budget reductions, public library staffs are being reduced and some library programs are being cut.

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Library Name City Type Date
Anchorage
P
06/01/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Schools and city libraries got more money than expected, an animal shelter and two community libraries got construction funding and taxpayers get a rebate in the budget Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly members passed unanimously Wednesday. The Assembly adopted a 9.644 mill rate for property taxes, the same rate as the tax levy last year. But it supplemented that with state revenue sharing and money the Assembly set aside last year to lighten the property tax burden this year. The bottom line to taxpayers is a 9.332 mill rate, or $933.20 for every $100,000 of borough-assessed property value. Property owners who live outside Wasilla, Palmer and Houston will pay an extra $37 per $100,000 of assessed property value for services such as animal control, community libraries and economic development. Taxes for road service and fire service areas are additional, and vary by community. "I'm very happy the animal shelter made it and the Sutton community center," Borough Manager John Duffy said after the meeting. Both items were on the chopping block at least once during three budget deliberation sessions. Assembly members twice voted to preserve $587,000, the first payment of a 15-year, $5 million loan to build a new animal shelter. A $600,000 line item for the Sutton community center and library was nearly eliminated after Assemblywoman Cindy Bettine said she worried that paying for a community center would set a bad precedent. "We don't have a plan for (building) community centers," Bettine said. State Rep. John Harris, a Valdez Republican, had secured $600,000 for the Sutton project. The borough money would match the state grant, but borough employees are looking for additional grant funding to finish the project, estimated to cost $1.4 million. Bettine suggested slicing the borough contribution in half as a compromise, but that motion and her original motion to cut the funding both failed in split votes. Trapper Creek Library got $355,000 in construction funding to build a library attached to an emergency services building there. School funding got a boost Wednesday night when Assemblyman Rob Wells suggested adding $1.6 million to pay for intervention specialists in core-area elementary schools. The added teachers will focus on helping students reach a third-grade reading level by the time they are in third grade, Wells said. "Believe me, I think it will make a difference in their whole student career," Wells said. His motion passed unanimously. City libraries got more money than Duffy originally proposed but not as much as city leaders hoped for. A joint effort by Wells and Assemblywoman Mary Kvalheim resulted in 20 percent more library funding than originally planned. Kvalheim proposed a boost based on the number of non-city residents who use libraries in Palmer and Wasilla. Wells suggested adding $60,000 to a Palmer block grant and $72,000 to a Wasilla block grant that offsets library use by borough residents. It's part of a five-year grant reduction, he said. Libraries can expect to see 20 percent less each year, Wells said. "I think we need to send a real message that we're going to find a solution, and we're going to start by doing a five-year phaseout. Hopefully, by the end of five years -- by the end of this year, even -- we'll have a real plan," Wells said. Wasilla librarian KJ Martin-Albright said Thursday it's unclear whether non-city residents will still face a $50 library card if they use city libraries. Both Palmer and Wasilla prepared to implement a $50 fee in recent weeks as the grant cuts loomed. Wasilla's budget for fiscal 2008 includes the $50 fee. The City Council takes up the budget at a public hearing at 7 p.m. June 11. "Of course I'm thankful that the funding was 20 percent more than was expected," Martin-Albright said. "How that's going to play into the budget is really up to the council." Palmer library director Pat Kilmain said Palmer's fee decision rests in the council's hands too. The Palmer City Council will likely discuss the Assembly action at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. June 12 at Palmer City Hall. (Daily News)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Palmer
P
05/25/2007
Negative Impact: City leaders are preparing for a battle with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough over library funding, a war they believe may already be lost. Palmer and Wasilla typically used borough grants to offset the cost to their libraries of providing service to borough residents. Those grants were cut 40 percent in the proposed fiscal 2008 borough budget as part of a plan to phase the funding out entirely by 2011. About 80 percent of city library users live outside city limits. Last year the borough provided $295,000 for Palmer and $360,600 for Wasilla. This year, about $177,000 is budgeted for Palmer and $216,000 for Wasilla. The borough budget has not yet passed. The borough Assembly is scheduled to continue budget discussions 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Palmer City Council Tuesday set out its plan if the Assembly reduces the library grants. Its strategy is to charge every noncity resident $50 for a one-year library card. "That's my suggestion, that we fully fund our library and send the message back to the borough that, OK, this is what you're going to do? We're not going to roll over and play dead on this one," Palmer Mayor John Combs said. The City Council unanimously agreed to the $50 fee, which Combs said would only take effect if the Assembly cuts funding. Councilors discussed a resolution encouraging the borough to fully fund libraries but agreed the time for resolutions has passed. The Assembly has discussed using revenue from a borough sales tax, if it passes an October vote, to fund city libraries. Combs said he's not in favor of tying library funding to the fate of a sales tax measure. He said it's too early to say whether the city will support such a measure. Borough Assembly members are still working out the details. Some city councilors were not optimistic that a $50 library card would sway the Assembly on library funding. "I think we're going to wind up funding it all ourselves and opening ( library service) up to everybody. Otherwise we'll have a library that doesn't meet the needs of the public," city councilman Tony Pippel said. Palmer library director Pat Kilmain on Wednesday said that the fee could take effect in September, but library software must be updated to flag noncity residents' cards. She said she hopes to have plenty of time to advertise the change to library users and wants to make sure her actions are in synch with plans at the Wasilla Public Library. Wasilla library director KJ Martin-Albright said the Wasilla City Council will consider budgeting a $50 fee for noncity resident cards early next month. The City Council scheduled a public hearing on the city budget at 7 p.m. June 11 at City Hall, 290 E. Herning Ave. The Palmer council directed city officials to provide the public with one-page handouts explaining the library-funding situation, with the names and phone numbers of each Assembly member and Mat-Su Borough Manager John Duffy. "I think the borough has some obligation to fund libraries especially when their citizens ... use the libraries as much or more than we do," city councilman Brad Hanson said. "I hope this isn't a long-term thing ... I really want to treat the residents from outside the city who shop and do business in our town as fairly as possible in spite of it being the responsibility of the borough." (Daily News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Wasilla
P
02/14/2007
Negative Impact: Elected leaders from Wasilla and Palmer came looking Thursday for assurances from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that libraries would get borough funding this year. They came away empty handed. "Do you see it as being an essential service?" Palmer Mayor John Combs asked borough leaders at an all-government meeting at the Wasilla Multi-Use Sports Complex Thursday. Assembly members at the meeting said they supported libraries but warned that their support might not prevent cuts to library funding. In 2006, the borough paid Wasilla and Palmer $656,000 for library operations. "I think libraries are going to fall right there behind life and limb," said Assemblyman Tom Kluberton, who represents borough residents from Meadow Lakes to the northern border. "But when I ran for this seat, I was told there are three issues that are important -- taxes, roads and taxes." "No one I know on the Assembly has said 'I hate libraries; they're a waste of money.' No one says that about ambulances, either," said Mat-Su Deputy Mayor Lynne Woods of Sutton. Borough Manager John Duffy told the group a revenue cap enacted by the Assembly two years ago would likely mean deep cuts to the borough budget this year. Borough funding to city libraries is one area where cuts have already been discussed. In 2006, Duffy sent a letter to Wasilla and Palmer city leaders, warning them that the borough may cut library funding this year. Thursday, Duffy said his letter stands. The borough may not be able to provide the same amount of money to city libraries as it did last year, he said. "It's premature to say whether it's going to be significant, substantial or no money. The available funds are going to be lower this year when you take a look at the services provided. Last year we didn't have funds available for all the services. What we're struggling with is funding all the services, including education," Duffy said. The Mat-Su Borough is just beginning its yearly budgeting process. Property tax assessments will be finished in two weeks, borough finance director Tammy Clayton said at the meeting. City officials will know how libraries are affected when the budget is released in mid-April. The Assembly typically holds public hearings on the budget in May. Clayton said the revenue cap ties the amount of property tax and other revenue the borough collects to increases in population and to the Anchorage Consumer Price Index. Last year, revenue increased 6.62 percent under the cap. Borough officials last week said they are still calculating the expected rise this year. Whatever the increase, it's not enough, Woods said. A 3- to 4-percent rise in the Anchorage Consumer Price Index over the last year doesn't reflect the higher cost of doing business, she said. "What part went up 3 percent? A VCR?" Woods said. "The borough's not buying those." Wasilla Mayor Dianne Keller said the revenue cap doesn't let the borough off the hook. "The borough has said they are counting on the city of Wasilla and city of Palmer to provide that service for borough residents. Part of the reason why we're here today is to find out, do we need to continue providing that service to city residents?" Keller asked. "We all have needs. We all have a finite pot of money." Assemblywoman Michelle Church said the cities aren't bound by a revenue cap and should be more willing to discuss sharing the cost of library services. "I think we need to take a less adversarial role and have the cities come in with the resources they have, the borough with the resources it has and the state with the resources it has," Church said. "We need to stop protecting our particular pots of gold and put them all out on the table." An audience member suggested creating a borough-wide tax for library services to pay for operations at all borough libraries. Part of the property taxes noncity residents pay the borough now goes to library services, as well as to animal care and solid waste. Residents in Wasilla and Palmer pay for those services through city taxes or fees. Mat-Su community development director Ron Swanson said the idea has come up before. He said he thinks it's a good solution, but it would mean the borough would operate all libraries, including those in Wasilla and Palmer. Wasilla city leaders have offered to hand over control of their library before. Palmer city leaders have typically balked at the idea, Swanson said. "Palmer is, and justifiably so, very proud of their library. It's one of their diamonds. They in no way, shape or form want to give that up," he said. Combs on Friday said the idea of handing over control is being discussed. "As far as just making it an area-wide mill levy on everybody, it's something that makes sense to me, but I just think we're going to have some upset people at the Palmer library," Combs said. He would prefer stabilizing borough funding for libraries instead. "Every year, it's back with your hand out asking for money to help offset the borough resident use of the borough library. That gets to be pretty tiresome, and it's getting to be a tougher and tougher fight each year," Combs said. (Anchorage Daily News)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Anchorage
P
01/26/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Friends of the Library groups in Palmer and Wasilla are marshaling their book-loving troops to tell Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly members not to cut $656,000 in city library funding. Leaders of the Wasilla and Palmer Friends of the Library are keeping the lobbying effort low-key, at least for now. Special bookmarks have been made, showing an ostrich with its head stuck in sand and providing contact information for Assembly members. Library patrons can also pick up library support cards to send to Assembly members. Each blue card bears the statement: "Please fund libraries, including the Wasilla and Palmer Public Libraries." Wasilla and Palmer library patrons have picked a few of the blue cards and added their own comments. "The response, as far as I know, has been good. It could always be better," said longtime Friends of Wasilla Library member Julia Ede. "It really seems ridiculous that the borough Assembly would decide to cut their support of the Palmer and Wasilla libraries." Borough Manager John Duffy informed Wasilla and Palmer leaders in June 2006 that the borough might cut library funding this year. With a revenue cap in place, the borough's ability to raise taxes or generate money in other ways is limited, and unprecedented cuts are being discussed. Ron Swanson, who oversees Mat-Su Borough libraries in addition to parks, recreation and land use, said that notice still stands. The Mat-Su Borough budget will be introduced April 17. The Mat-Su Assembly must adopt a fiscal year 2008 budget by June 1. City library supporters say the borough should trim elsewhere. About 80 percent of the people who visit the Palmer and Wasilla libraries hail from beyond either city's boundaries, according to library directors. "These libraries need their funding and help as much as Big Lake and Talkeetna," Ede said. That funding need stems from the sheer number of people using city libraries. Free reading programs at the city libraries are growing rapidly. In Palmer, a summer reading program ballooned from about 500 attendees in 2004 to 735 in 2006. In Wasilla, preschool reading programs are growing, almost doubling between 2005 and 2006. A Time for Tots reading program there generated 353 participants in six months, an unexpected rate for a first-year program. Candace Kopperud runs programs for children and adults at the Palmer library, but her reach extends far beyond city limits. She visits nine preschools each month for story-time events, she said. She also oversees a special program for Butte Elementary School students, roughly seven miles outside city limits, where children practice reading aloud, have snacks and are taught by local artisans and artists to knit or to draw self-portraits. Kopperud said budget cuts, especially when the cuts represent half a library 's budget, threaten such programs. "You obviously, hopefully, would not do away with programs completely," Kopperud said. "But if you're trying to just keep your doors open and work the desk most of the day, you're not going to have time to plan those activities. I would imagine the funding cut would directly affect programming." Palmer library director Pat Kilmain was out of the office this week. She has said losing $295,000, the amount the borough gave Palmer for its library last year, could mean reduced library hours, staff cuts and fewer new materials. Wasilla public library director KJ Martin-Albright said she's glad the Friends groups are stepping in. City employees can't do it, she said. Lobbying public officials is both unethical and prohibited by city law. Martin-Albright said she hasn't considered what would happen if $360,000 disappears from her $741,000 budget. "I don't know how actually the library would do it," said Wasilla Friends secretary Margaret Heaven. "I'm sure they would cut staff and cut hours, which is really hard as a community member because you're never sure when they're open. It makes it inconvenient for the public, so people quit using it." The Friends of Library groups hope lobbying efforts by Palmer and Wasilla city leaders will add weight to their voices. Both Wasilla Mayor Dianne Keller and Palmer Mayor John Combs have asked the borough for full library funding. "Those are your two top local officials who I suspect can rattle cages much better than the rest of us can," said Palmer Friends secretary Chris Walker. Local leaders will tackle the library issue at a 6 p.m. meeting Feb. 8 at Wasilla Multi-Use Sports Complex. Libraries are one of several issues on that agenda. Borough residents are getting involved too. Leslie Prichett moved from Anchorage to Mat-Su with her husband and five children in July. She sells Avon products and is pledging 20 percent of her sales revenue to Palmer Friends of the Library if customers ask her to. Prichett said she made the decision to donate a couple weeks ago after learning of the potential library cuts. She hopes the pledge will help her grow her customer base, but she said she wants to support libraries too. "We go to the library all the time," Prichett said. "I've always gone to the library. My mom would always take me as a kid. With (my) kids, you just can't buy them enough books. They consume them too fast." Her children range in age from 12 to 31/2. A trip to the library means carting home as many as 30 books, she said. Giving customers a chance to donate 20 percent of her profit to the library seemed a good way to give back, she said. Prichett sells her products at her Web site, www.youravon.com/jprichett-iv. She said she plans to add a spot where library supporters can click to signal a donation request. (Anchorage Daily News)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Palmer, Wasilla
P
01/19/2007
Negative Impact: Officials at the cities of Palmer and Wasilla in June opened letters from the borough informing them they shouldn't count on annual funding their two libraries routinely receive. They will be shorted about $300,000 in Palmer and $360,000 in Wasilla. Mat-Su Borough officials cite tax cap limitations. That's a reasonable fiscal stance in many instances, given the aversion locals have for paying their way with taxes. But denying libraries -- in the borough's two major cities -- money for upkeep, staff hours, books, music, CDs, DVDs and whatever else a good public library provides to the public is just plain dumb, because financially hog-tying libraries causes even further dumbness. When thoughtful people complain that children are spending too much time in front of televisions or computers playing games, we force a good alternative to those activities to reduce its presence in our communities? That makes no sense. Asked what hours might be affected by the proposed reduction in funding, Palmer library director Pat Kilmain said evenings and weekends, as happened in past years of cash shortfall. So while we reduce the funding for books and other learning tools for people of all ages, we also shutter the library when most working adults would have access to it. Right now, both city libraries are open every day but Sunday, with varying hours depending on the day. The doors are open Saturdays for four hours at each place. The rest of the days include some evening hours that go until 8 p.m. and others until 6 p.m. Palmer is open 48 hours per week and Wasilla 44 hours. Kilmain said the state recognizes as true public libraries only those that are open at least 40 hours per week. What a shame if the borough, by its insensitivity to scholarship and curiosity among its constituents, financed away the public part of public libraries in its two most populous towns. On the surface this may seem like a city problem. These are, after all, city libraries, not borough libraries. But as Kilmain and her peer at Wasilla, K.J. Martin-Albright, will tell you, this is indeed a borough problem. Kilmain said 69,210 items -- books, CDs, etc. -- were checked out of the Palmer library in the last six months of 2006. Of that number, 78.2 percent went to residents outside the city limits. Martin-Albright said 79 percent to 80 percent of the 140,891 items checked out of that library for all 12 months of 2006 left the city limits. Those figures only make sense because the population of the valleys is so spread out. I imagine most businesses in Palmer and Wasilla could show similar numbers from their customer bases. So pawning off the expense of running the libraries as a city cash-flow problem doesn't wash. The timing of the letter is particularly hard on Palmer because its fiscal year coincides with the calendar year, while the borough government works from July 1 to June 30. So Palmer has theoretically spent half of its fiscal year library budget. And the city, if it wanted to, can't address funding the library until its next budget year, which won't start until about a year from now. That leaves the library with six months of financial limbo. Wasilla's fiscal year is in tune with the borough's, so it could, if the city leaders wanted, conceivably fund its library shortfall in its budgeting that will begin this spring. Ron Swanson, the borough's community development coordinator, said the five other libraries -- Big Lake, Willow, Talkeetna, Sutton and Trapper Creek -- need help too. Last week he described their situations as "pathetic." "In an ideal world," he said, those community facilities would benefit from the shortfall of the larger communities. "But that's not my decision. That's an Assembly decision." Skeptics, at least this one, will think the $660,000 saved by not funding the Wasilla and Palmer libraries won't benefit the other, more rural libraries, but will instead be sucked into the black, whirling vortex of the general fund or capital projects or the ever-popular discretionary spending. Moving money from account to account is one thing at which governments excel. So for all you folks farther up the highways, I wouldn't expect longer hours or more books at your libraries. (Anchorage Daily News)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Matanuska-Susitna Borough Anchorage
P
12/06/2006
Negative Impact: The growing popularity of the city library is outpacing its director's ability to keep it adequately staffed and its shelves stocked with the latest bestsellers, she said Thursday. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough will probably cut some portion of the $300,000 it provided the city library last year. The library budget is about $600,000 annually, said Pat Kilmain, the public library director. On top of that, the City Council looks to cut $500,000 out of the city budget before it's adopted next week. That may mean denying a request for more hours for four part-time librarians, as well as a request for a new police officer position. The council expects to adopt the 2007 city spending plan Tuesday. Kilmain said she doesn't know how she can make up whatever cuts the borough is likely to make to its library grants. "We would have to trim down our budgets for books, for supplies. We could cut back on the number of books we buy," Kilmain said. In Palmer, City Manager Tom Healy said increasing personnel costs are beneath a 13-percent increase in general fund spending that he proposes for the coming year. His $8.5 million spending plan rests on expected revenues of $8.1 million, about half of that from sales and use taxes. Kilmain asked for 1,664 additional hours for her four part-time employees, at a cost of about $20,000, she said. Kilmain said she asked for the hours knowing she probably wouldn't get them. Keeping the library properly staffed while juggling employees' vacation schedules and sick leave is difficult. And the stacks are becoming popular. "We're growing so fast," Kilmain said. The library is on track to break last year's record for 85,600 patron visits. Librarians last year assigned an average of 10 new library cards each day. About 81,000 people visited the library between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, Kilmain said. Typically, the Mat-Su Borough gives money to Palmer and Wasilla public libraries to offset their use by borough residents. According to a borough formula, Palmer last year received about $295,000 and Wasilla about $361,000. Borough Manager John Duffy in June told the cities to start looking elsewhere for library money. A revenue cap took effect this year and may hinder library funding, according to Duffy. Kilmain said she isn't ready to concede defeat. She said the Friends of Palmer Library started a campaign to sway the borough Assembly to reinstate library funding. Some say the borough isn't paying city libraries enough. About 80 percent of the people who visit Palmer and Wasilla public libraries live outside those cities, Kilmain said. Palmer City Councilman Tony Pippel, at a Nov. 28 City Council meeting, said the borough should either compensate the city or the city should charge borough residents to use the library. No way, Kilmain said. Palmer tried that in 1994. The borough cut library funding and the city responded by charging non-residents $5 for a library card, she said. Employees recalled having books thrown at them and being spit upon, Kilmain said. "These people don't understand they don't live in the city of Palmer," she said. Ron Swanson, the borough community development director, said library funding used to come from state revenue sharing. That funding eventually dried up, although some money came through last year under another name. Swanson said borough funding for libraries would likely never be fully restored. But he doesn't think the cities will be completely bereft either, he said. "It will be done over time," Swanson said. "It's gliding downward. I see three years till we get down to some lower level. I definitely don't see us going from what they're getting now down to zero overnight." Swanson said he wouldn't know for sure until the borough releases its budget, in February or March. Library funding is but one concern as Palmer mulls its 2007 budget; personnel pay increases and escalating medical and retirement costs loom larger. "The big issue, of course, is PERS," Healy said, referring to the state-managed Public Employee Retirement System. "That's an issue that is being addressed at the state level. It's even a national issue." The increased contribution by Palmer to the retirement system adds $460,000 to the city budget, $6,400 per employee, Healy said. That number will increase next year if the Legislature doesn't step in. Healy said city officials would look for other places to cut. City councilors recommended contracting for city services, he said. That and other ideas will be researched further before the council meets Tuesday to consider the city budget. The Palmer 2007 city budget at a glance: * Sales tax revenues are expected to go up by 3 percent in 2007. * Property taxes, due to increased assessed value, are expected to go up by 5.45 percent. * Citywide mill rate of 3 percent is expected to remain the same. * Two city positions remain in the budget: one water and wastewater utility operator, at a total cost of $69,000 and a Palmer Police Department clerk at a total cost of $53,000. A city project manager at $89,000 has been cut, replaced by $50,000 for contractual project oversight. * Cut is $20,000 for 1,664 extra hours for part-time library employees and $67,000 in wages and benefits for a new city police officer, along with $31,000 for a new police vehicle. * Employee medical premiums are up from $11,760 per employee to $13,525 per employee this year. * Public employee retirement costs are up by about one third in 2007. The city estimates the total increase to be $457,330. * Capital projects include improvements to Felton Street, new street lights on South Alaska Street and South Colony Way, rebuilding and paving Dimond, Elmwood and Fireweed avenues south of Evergreen Avenue, building soccer fields near the Palmer Ice Arena and beginning construction of an urban revitalization project along the Alaska Railroad right-of-way that splits the city. (from Anchorage Daily News)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Jacksonville
P
12/30/2005
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Positive Impact: In July, Jacksonville voters passed a 1-mill property-tax increase to pay for a new library, while a 0.5% sales tax to build a new 16,000-square-foot library in Van Buren passed by 87 votes. (from American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Matanuska-Susitna
P
10/19/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Three weeks ago, voters said no to every bond question placed before them on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough ballot. Bonds for schools, libraries and an animal shelter all failed. "Now we have to figure out, with the funding we have, what can we make work?" said Dave Allison, who directs the Mat-Su Animal Care and Regulation shelter. A bond package to build or expand six borough libraries also failed. Plans to build a central library to serve residents living outside Wasilla and Palmer sank with the ballot measure. But a central distribution center, where incoming books can be processed, may still be in the works, community development director Ron Swanson said. "I think that needs to be in the mix to make us more efficient," Swanson said. "We'll have to figure out some other way to do it." A distribution center won't need a lot of space and may be something that can be wedged into an existing borough building, Swanson said. Finding money for more library space might be more difficult, however. Swanson said he'd prepare separate library improvement projects for each project in the bond package. First on the list, he said, will probably be the Trapper Creek library. Jeannie Earles, librarian at Trapper Creek, the smallest and most crowded public library in the borough, said community members were disappointed in the election results. She said they are considering community-funded options. The community started the library in a church up Petersville Road several years ago. It expanded to 850 square feet in a privately owned building just off the Parks Highway at Mile 115. The library shares space with a tiny ambulance bay in a building with apartments upstairs. There's a possibility for new digs already in the works, Swanson said. The Assembly approved $1 million for a new emergency services facility earlier this year. That facility was planned as an add-on to the library, Swanson said, but the library might be tacked on to the emergency services facility instead. Depending on the availability of money, Swanson said, library construction projects may be paid for slowly and built over time. "We could see a library every two to four years," Swanson said. That's only if library construction funding is made a priority, however. Libraries have languished on the borough's capital projects list before, he said. A new Big Lake library built four years ago was on that list for about 15 years, Swanson said. Finding money for libraries or an animal shelter space might be challenging in the upcoming budget cycle. Next year will be the first time a cap on borough revenue will limit borough expenses. Duffy said he's already told department managers to sharpen their pencils and prepare for lean budgets. (from Anchorage Daily News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Anchorage
P
06/29/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly postponed two bonds it had planned for the October municipal ballot, saying last week that it wasn't satisfied that the bonds were ready to be voted on. Borough employees are preparing two bonds for the municipal ballot. One, at $4.66 million, would fund a new animal shelter to replace the existing one adjacent to the borough central landfill off North 49th State Street near Palmer. The second, at $15.6 million, would fund building or renovating several community libraries. A $15.6 million library bond met with the same fate. Assembly members postponed the library bond after questioning how borough staff had compiled cost estimates. Again, they said, the costs were lower than construction costs in the real world. Borough community services director Ron Swanson said he used per-square-foot estimates of $220, the amount it cost to build a new library in Big Lake four years ago, as the basis for his cost estimates. The bond would fund five new libraries, some with community meeting areas attached, and a 4,000-square-foot expansion at Big Lake Library. Assembly members again cited concerns that the borough would have to pay for costly project overruns. In a 4-3 vote, Assembly members postponed the bond and asked for a detailed explanation of costs for the construction and expansion projects. It too will be back before the Assembly at its July 19 meeting. (Anchorage Daily News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Muldoon, Samson/Dimond Anchorage
P
11/20/2004
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Positive Impact: A $330 million municipal budget for 2005 will pay for increased library hours at the Muldoon and Samson/Dimond branches by 40 percent, up from 35 hours per week to 49 hours per week with the addition of two staffers. In addition, libraries will add one self-checkout machine at the three most used branches (Samson/Dimond, Muldoon and Chugiak-Eagle River) and three at the Loussac Library. That will free staff to do other work and help patrons.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Alaska State Library Juneau
sa
07/21/2004
Negative Impact: Gov. Murkowski announced $5.2 million in cuts to the state budget, including $169,400 for the state library and state archives. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Kenai Community Library Kenai
P
06/04/2004
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Positive Impact: The Kenai City Council approved a 2005 budget that restores some city services, including Sunday hours at the Kenai Community Library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Fairbanks
s
05/20/2004
Negative Impact: The district has to make $2 million in cuts. As a result, two library assistants will be cut. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Matanusk-Sustna Borough
P
04/22/2004
Negative Impact: Officials are recommending library cuts of $109,000 to Palmer and $150,000 to Wasilla 

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Library Name City Type Date
Matanuska-Susitna Borough
s
03/08/2004
Negative Impact: The school board is proposing cuts to address the $8 million cut to school district's budget, including elimination of librarians at five elementary schools; the district would hire tutor-advisors to replace the librarians laid off; librarians assert that students' test scores tend to be higher in schools where there is a qualified librarian 

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Library Name City Type Date
Anchorage libraries Anchorage
P
01/12/2004
Negative Impact: Reorganization brought budget down to $6.4 million; city laid off 22 employees 

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Library Name City Type Date
Loussac Library Anchorage
P
10/03/2003
Negative Impact: Losing jobs and some positions are being demoted 

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Library Name City Type Date
Loussac Library Anchorage
P
10/01/2003
Negative Impact: 22 library staffers lose their jobs; will be cuts to library programs 

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Library Name City Type Date
Eagle River and Loussac Library Anchorage
P
09/20/2003
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Mayor proposes a $260 million capital budget that includes funding for a new library for Girwood and a new library for Eagle River and renovations to Loussac Library (about $7.3 million for library projects in all); voters rejected a library bond last year