Press Release - Detail

For release Monday, February 28, 2011

CONTACT:    Angela Fisher Hall
                       Associate Director
                       Birmingham Public Library
                       Phone:  (205) 226-3614


Library Spending on Materials Misquoted
Birmingham Public Library materials budget cut 48% in the City’s 2011 Budget Cycle

Birmingham, AlabamaIn a report to the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Board at its regular meeting on Thursday, February 24, Library Director Irene Blalock misquoted the amount spent by another municipal library on materials.  Instead of spending $1,000,000 annually on library materials, the Hoover Public Library spends $438,000 a year from its City of Hoover budget.  Blalock made the comparison while explaining how Birmingham Public—with 18 branch locations and a Central Library Complex—experienced a 48% cut in its materials budget during the current fiscal year.  In 2011, $771,775 was approved for the line item that allows the system to purchase new materials for all of its locations.  For BPL, the reduction was a drastic change from the 2010 budget where $1,480,320 was requested for similar purchases.

BPL Board members gave approval for Blalock to request an adjustment in 2012 that takes the materials budget back to the 2010 amount.  While the library is working with the Mayor on the FY2012 budget, the timing is right for this request. 

In order for BPL to be competitive for national service awards and other important recognition, at least 12% of its total annual budget should be reserved for new materials.  Birmingham Public’s adopted budget for 2011 was $15,814,902.

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