As of Feb. 9, tax receipts for the Barry-Lawrence Library District totalled $1,164,216.33, according to Library Director Jean Berg who gave an update of the district's financial position at the library board's Feb. 11 meeting.
Berg said the tax total represents a $202,945.21 shortfall in revenue for the library district since Senate Bill 711 went into effect last September. The library board will continue to monitor the district's financial situation, which has been affected by a state law that forced the district to lower its tax levy from 17.32 cents to 15 cents per $100 assessed valuation.
Berg also updated the board on the district's effort to raise matching funds for the Gates Grant, which provides computers for the library branches. The district is responsible for providing $13,000 in matching funds during 2010. To date, $4,202.50 has been collected.
A $500 grant request has been submitted to the Mt. Vernon Area Community Foundation for matching grant funds, and Friends of the Library groups at the various libraries are being asked to make a donation toward the fund.
Under old business, the board learned that one camera had been purchased and installed at the Monett Library circulation desk. Board members approved the purchase of cameras for each of the district's branches last month that librarians could use to photograph library card users.
Berg reported that the camera is functional but staff members are unable to clearly view the individual they are photographing. The Library Corporation, the company that the cameras were purchased from, is currently working to solve the viewing problem. The purchase of cameras for the other branches have been placed on hold until the issue is resolved.
In other business, the board:
* Reviewed the financial report for January. Missouri Athlete and Entertainer Tax for 2010 was received in the amount of $11,997.84. This money can only be used for the purchase of books and library materials. Current tax dollars have been invested in short-term certificates of deposit at 1.24 percent to 1.5 percent interest.
* Approved the hiring of Rebecca Berry as a part-time shelver at the Cassville Branch Library.
* Reviewed circulation statistics for January. Cassville had the highest circulation in the district with 9,073 items checked out during the month. Total circulation at all branches was 43,525 for the month of January with 3,416 patrons using the Internet computers.
* Accepted a summary of the Friends of the Library annual financial reports. A total of $8,900.26 was received in membership dues in 2009 from eight Friends groups. Aurora's organization had the highest membership, which generated $2,612 last year. All eight branches benefitted from the $7,404.15 in Friends dollars that were used to sponsor library programs and purchase supplies, equipment and furniture.
* Heard a report from Berg on the Legislative Day event in Jefferson City held on Feb. 2. She and trustee Charles Peiter attended. "We visited with all of our representatives and Senator Goodman," reported Berg. "Each of them emphasized that there are drastic shortfalls in state revenue that are definitely going to affect us in 2011 and even more drastically in 2012 when the federal stimulus dollars are gone."
* Denied a request to allow Honnah M. Sartin to hold weekly guitar lessons for homeschool students at the Cassville Branch and charge $5 per student per half-hour class. According to Berg, library policy prohibits the charging of fees for any course that is offered at the library that would benefit the individual offering the course.
The next meeting of the library board will be held this Thursday, March 11.