|Several people have asked me lately whether the budget crisis in state government has affected the library's finances. The answer is "yes", but not too drastically. Here are a few facts to make that clearer.
Public library services in South Carolina are primarily funded by local tax dollars. Over 86% of the Fairfield County Library's budget last fiscal year came from local sources. Those dollars pay for staff, books and other materials, and for operating costs such as utilities and office supplies.
We do receive state funding which is distributed on a per capita basis. Each across-the-board cut in Columbia has decreased the per capita allocation for public
libraries. For a brief, shining moment State Aid per capita was $2.00. Budget cuts have now reduced that to $1.25.
|Fairfield County Library lost over $4,000.00 in the first across-the-board cut. After that we hit the minimum grant level of $40,000.00. The State Aid legislation guarantees that no library will receive less than that amount, so the successive cuts have not reduced our allocation. While not a large percentage of our overall budget, State Aid is crucial to our services because we spend 100% of it on books, audio-visual materials, periodical subscriptions, and computer databases and equipment.
In the coming battle over how to allocate scarce state resources, it will be important for library supporters to explain to legislators that State Aid to Public Libraries provides vital services in their communities.
As always, feel free to reach me at the library by phone (635-4971) or by email