The Library Board approves the Library budget in March-April for the fiscal year starting in May. The Library's annual budget is available on the Library’s website. Baker Tilly US, LLP, performs an annual audit of the Library's financial statements. The Library's audit reports are available on the Library website.
A monthly financial report of revenues and expenditures is approved each month by the Library Board as required under the Illinois Library Act. Payment of prior Board approved expenditures requiring payment of over $10,000 are authorized by the President as required under the Library's bylaws. The Library's monthly financial report is included in the meeting materials that are posted at Board Meetings and Materials on the Library website.
The Library Board made the decision to cease charging overdue fines at its December 10, 2019 board meeting. The Library undertook extensive research on the topic of eliminating late fines on overdue materials. In addition to a library literature review, libraries in the surrounding area and the CCS Consortium were consulted. The following summarizes the findings:
- Libraries that made the change viewed fines as non-successful in motivating patrons to return items. Instead, fines prevented patrons from using their library cards which disproportionately impacts on some populations.
- Elimination of fines often shortened the process to get library items back.
- Options include blocking the user (and related family cards) at a certain number of late items, a certain length of time the item is late, or at some dollar value of late items.
- Options include blocking access to e-content and physical materials or simply blocking access to physical materials.
- Fees still exist for damaged and lost materials.
- Libraries moving to fine free were pleased with the results.
Of the 28 consortium libraries, more than half are fine free. Changes in lending periods and the use of technology have significantly reduced the Library’s fine income as noted in the chart below.
The cash management involved 5–7 hours each week to clear the cash drawers, with additional time at the end of the month for bank deposits. A conservative estimate for hourly staff time was $2,000 annually. This estimate does not include the amount of staff time in collecting and recording the fine and modifying the patron record, and additional time, usually at the administrative level, dealing with and negotiating with upset patrons over the amount. The Library also pays banking fees for the overdue fine amounts paid online. In the first 8 months of FY2020, the Library had incurred $293 in online banking fees. The costs to collect and process the fines made moving to fine free a responsible fiscal move.
Service Providers and Consultants, including without limitation, architects, engineers, managed service providers, are retained by the Library Board through the Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Qualifications (RFQ) processes. Purchases in excess of $25,000 are also subject to the RFP process. The Library seeks comparative bids for smaller projects as well. The Library's current and closed RFPs and RFQs are available on the Library website.
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