I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a library today…

Another method of dealing with fiscal woes is beginning to impact library organizations.

My former state of residence, Illinois, has always for years run several months behind in payments to state-funded organizations.  I know this from keeping an eye on the overall budget of the community college where I used to work.

The length of time appears to be increasing, and it has reached a breaking point for one of Illinois’ nine library systems, the North Suburban Library System.

According to their letter:

As you are aware, 80% of our funding comes from an annual grant from the Illinois General Assembly distributed through Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. We have not received 42% of the money owed to us for the fiscal year ending June 30. If we continue to operate without making any service or staffing changes, our money would run out at the end of July 2010. We had hoped to receive additional funding soon, but our latest intelligence tells us that we are not likely to receive any state payments until November 2010 at the earliest. We are told this is not a temporary problem. Rather, there is a trend in Illinois to continue to delay state payments, not just to library systems. This means that cash flow is going to be a continuing and growing problem for NSLS, as well as many other state funded agencies and organizations. Under these conditions, we cannot continue to offer our members the high level of service they expect and deserve.

The system is focusing efforts on keeping Inter-Library Loan (ILL) running, but most everything else is up in the air.  Not only are staff layoffs in the works, but the NSLS Executive Director, Sara Long, and Marketing/Communications Specialist Judy Hoffman are both losing their jobs.

This is a tough situation, and one that is hard to plan for even if foreseen.  650 libraries gain over $9 million dollars in benefits from services provided by the system.  This adds another budget stress to those libraries.

thanks to Elizabeth Neill for the heads-up on this story…

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