Dear members and stakeholders,
Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) is an organization dedicated to providing high quality services to its 539 members in central and southern Illinois. Our primary annual revenue is the System Area and Per Capita (SAPC) grant from the Illinois State Library/Secretary of State. For several years the annual grant appropriation for IHLS has been approximately $3.36 M. We very recently learned from the Illinois State Library our appropriation for the current fiscal year (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016) will be approximately $1.97 M--a decrease of 42%.
IHLS utilizes the SAPC grant for our innovative and evolving delivery service, technology support for all aspects of our organization, membership support and communication, operations (which includes maintenance of three buildings, etc.), financial support of SHARE, and administrative services. While we have built a cash reserve over the last four years, the reserve has been strained by payment delays from the state.
The significant reduction in funding this year is a consequence of the continued budget impasse in Springfield. Now in the 8th month without a state budget, library grants (including the SAPC, School Library Per Capita Grant, and Public Library Per Capita Grant) were partially funded by Public Act 99-0491. These grants are intended to be funded by a blend of state funds including Live and Learn and the General Revenue Fund. Unfortunately, no General Revenue Funds were appropriated for Public Act 99-0491, which equates to a 42% decrease for system grants specifically.
The IHLS administrative staff and board have worked as a team to identify savings and solutions to reduce expenditures this year. At last evening's meeting, the board approved a revised General Fund budget with an approximate 10% reduction in expenditures eliminating nearly all staff travel, continuing education, and cost of living increases. The reductions are internally-focused and will not impact member services at this time. Members will see no change in service levels for the remainder of the fiscal year (this includes delivery, membership support and SHARE services).
As we shift our focus to FY2017 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) we need your help to restore funding to levels of previous years. IHLS may not be able to sustain the services and support members depend on at this severely reduced level. Your advocacy on behalf of library grant funding helps both your own library and library system services. Please consider one or all of the following:
- Visit Federal legislators while they are in home offices during the President's Day break (Feb. 15 - 20). Ask them to sign the LSTA Dear Appropriators letter.
- Reach out to your state legislators and encourage them to restore General Revenue Funds for FY2016, and include full library grant funding for the FY2017 state budget. Visit your legislator at their home office, invite them to a program at your library supported by grant $$, or join your colleagues at one of the ILA-sponsored Legislative meet ups on February 19. There are two which may be convenient for you:
Friday, 19 February 2016
Friday, 19 February 2016
Library funding impacts all of our communities, large and small. Our voices matter when they are heard.
We appreciate the support and encouragement of our members and stakeholders as our organization has grown and flourished in its first five years. Please contact me if you have comments, questions or suggestions.
Leslie M. Bednar
Illinois Heartland Library System
6725 Goshen Road
Edwardsville, IL 62025
618.656.3216 ext. 420
Celebrating 50 years of library systems in Illinois!