Impact Of Budget Cuts

Just in case you were wondering “does it really matter if I show up to support my library” – the answer is YES! In May, your fellow community members attended the City Council’s Budget Hearings. Check out their committee website for the summary of comments from the public meetings. There is an Instant Polling Result under the latest update box at the top of the page.

Some interesting data points:

Taken from Seattle Central Library Economics Benefit paper: understand how budget cuts affect your local branch…reduction of hours, circulation and support.

Budget Cuts have Reduced the Library’s Operating Hours in Recent Years

In response to annual budget cuts in effect since 2001, The Seattle Public Library has reduced operating hours at the Central Library and all branches in the system, in addition to making non-personnel cuts and reducing the amount spent on collections. With both the 2002 and 2003 budgets, the entire Library system was closed for two non-contiguous weeks.

Hours at branch libraries have been more significantly reduced, with most libraries now open from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10:00 am to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, and 10:00 am to 6:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Some branches are open 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, and others are closed.

The Central Library’s current operating hours, totaling 58 hours per week, are shown in Exhibit 3. Prior to the reduction in operating hours imposed in 2001, the Central Library was open 70 hours per week, from 9:00 am to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For more information check out the Tracking the General Fund: How the City Gets and Spends

3 thoughts on “Impact Of Budget Cuts

  1. I think it’s important, so that people are not trying to advocate from obsolete information, to point out that the quoted report is from 2005. Last year’s budget restoration changed some of this information. For example, I get 66 hours per week now for the Central branch. Still not 70, but considerably better than 58. If I’ve miscalculated, please let me know.

  2. The pie chart above showing city expenditures indicates Human Services & Housing at 46% while the 2008 chart on the city council pages doesn’t show this item. Their number for public safety is 52% and yours 18%. Parks & Library 13 % vs 16%. whos on 1st? One would hope that the data is the same. I do believe that parks & libraries are legitimate government functions but need to get a few facts straight. Is there a graph indicating library budgets for the past 10/20 years?

  3. Jim, I’ll look around for a graph of library funding for the past ten years. This pie chart was from polling taken at the early community budget hearings. Human services advocates were out in force and 46% of respondents in all three budget hearings said they believed that human services should be the number one budget priority. These charts don’t reflect city expenditures. They’re a picture of the opinions of people attending three community budget hearings. That would explain the discrepancy.
    Sarel Rowe
    Advocacy Chair Friends of The Seattle Public LIbrary

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