Purpose of this letter
Every year, every dang year, several CKLS libraries almost lose their State Aid and System grants because their local government cuts their local funding. How this happens is explained in the letter below, but the general reason is the local government doesn't understand the consequences of cutting library budgets. The solution is that library boards need to tell them. The letter below contains the message the board needs to know, but I am very skeptical that simply mailing this letter to the mayor and city council will effectively deliver the message.
Telling the mayor and city council that outside organizations, like the State Library and CKLS, may interfere with their right to control the library's budget may irritate them if delivered as a letter without face-to-face contact first. The library board needs to introduce "maintenance of effort" face-to-face and in a way the mayor and city council will accept. The letter can be used as a supporting document to refresh memories of the details.
***** Letter on the importance of maintaining library income. *******
Dear Mayor [last name here] and City Council Members,
Next year your public library expects to receive an annual grant from the State Library of Kansas and a grant from the Central Kansas Library System (CKLS) totaling [state amount of State Aid and CKLS system grants you expect to receive next year]. This money buys numerous library programs and services: [list the programs, services, etc. this money purchases]. Without this money, your library’s ability to serve your community is greatly diminished.
Eligibility for these grants requires:
- The librarian to fill out two questionnaires each January, and
- Local library funding must be at least as much this year as last year.
The city budget report submitted to the Kansas Department of Administration is placed online at http://www.da.ks.gov/ar/muniserv/BudgetDefault.htm. The State Library of Kansas uses this report to compare this year’s and last year’s local library income. This comparison determines your library’s eligibility for State Aid. Eligibility for State Aid determines whether your library is eligible for the CKLS System grant. Lower local income for the library usually happens one of two ways.
- City valuation drops and the mill levy remains the same.
- City valuation stays the same and the city decides to lower the library’s mill levy.
Since the city budget is already published and passed when the Kansas Department of Administration looks at city reports submitted to the Kansas Department of Administration, changing the budget to make the library eligible for State Aid and System grants is no longer possible.
Therefore, the library trustees are asking you to please consider the impact lower local support will have on your library’s ability to serve your community.
President of the Library Board