Where do we come from?
Where the library system stands today.
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We are library people.
We are Americans.
And our public library is an essential American cultural institution.
The founding fathers understood that for American democracy to succeed, American citizens would need to be educated and informed. The public schools of the young United States created a nation of readers, and all across the country, those readers read. They read, and they lent books to each other, and they shared their ideas. And in communities across the nation, someone made space for a shelf to hold the books they were sharing. When the shelf overflowed, they found one bookcase, and then another. In many places they begged or borrowed or fought for a public space to house the bookcases so more people could read with them. They raised money to buy a building and to pay a librarian.
Eventually, by tiny incremental steps or dedicated capital campaigns, readers built libraries--hundreds and thousands of libraries in communities all over the country.
The creation of public libraries is the heritage of America itself. The 1,689 American libraries funded by Mr. Andrew Carnegie represent an exquisite marriage between the exceptionalism of American capitalism and the altruistic establishment and support of a societal good. Americans have built libraries for hundreds of years. In Llano county, we built the beginnings of our library system 118 years ago.
The Llano County Library System Foundation is proud that each of our library branches began out of the collective desire and sacrifice of local citizens to exchange books and ideas. Each branch came to be because of the grassroots efforts of book lovers. Let’s honor our past by safeguarding our libraries’ future.
· Our libraries have eliminated evening hours and shut their doors on the weekends.
· Our county has previously been affected by budget cuts.
· The proposed county budget for the upcoming fiscal year shows a decrease in fund allocation to our library system
· Attrition has seen our libraries’ staff reduced from 13 to 8, with no job openings posted on the county employment website.
· Our librarians are not adequately compensated.
· Our librarians have no support or incentive, financial or otherwise, to obtain appropriate professional education and credentialing that would improve their knowledge, skills, and lead to the betterment of our library system.
· Programming has been reduced or eliminated, including youth and elderly outreach.
· No books have been purchased for the Llano County Library System since October 2021. Even donated books have not been placed on library shelves.
Given what our past shows, and our present concerns, what does the future hold for our library system?
The Llano County Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Proposed Budget can be accessed here.
This proposed budget lists $22,441,407 in total expenditures, out of which the library system is allocated $448,501, which equates to 1.99% of the total budget.
For Fiscal Year 2021-2022, the adopted budget allocated $600,967, or 3.06% of the entire $19,624,854 to the library system, of which only $305,555 was spent.
No staff were replaced after termination or resignation, despite total employees decreasing from 13 to 8. No new books have been purchased since October 2021.
Despite a bigger county budget, our library is receiving a cut to funding, and allocated monies are not fully spent.
Our libraries are underfunded and under-supported.
Left unabated, this lack of support threatens our libraries’ very existence. To date we have seen:
• slashing of the libraries’ budget,
• a reduction of hours,
• endorsement of chronic staffing shortages, and
• a dearth of adequately certified and accredited librarians.
These cascading factors will lead to the demise of our libraries.
The good news is that you can help! Give at the level you are able to give—both small and large donations have a big impact. And the larger the endowment becomes, the larger the grants that we can bestow.
(These unaffiliated sites feature basic endowment calculators: http://endowment.cfbroward.org/ or https://delcf.org/endowment-calculator/ )
Since we are saving and investing this money, every donation counts. Unable to give generously right now? You can plan your gift for the future by adding us to your will, estate, or as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Creative giving, such as gifting real estate or mineral rights, might be an option, too. You can also give of your time and come volunteer with us. You can reach out to other people who may be able to help us. There are so many ways to make a difference.
We will raise funds to improve operations and ensure survival of our library system. We will unite and advocate for more funding and more support.
This Foundation requires funds to build our endowment. Our aim is provide adjunct funding to improve our library system. The LCLSF exists to provide funding to sustain and build better libraries in perpetuity.
We will invest the donated funds into our endowment account. When sufficient funds accumulate (hyperlink to thermometer, goal page), we can begin providing grants to our library system. Libraries in our county system will have the opportunity to apply for grants to implement new projects, create/offer new services, fund increased education and retention of staff, make building improvements, and fund a master plan to lead the system into the future.
The Foundation is run by a group of unpaid board members. There are some administrative costs associated with operations and producing fundraising events, social media and website management, postage, and the like. A small budget is allocated to these costs, and the rest of our funds are saved and invested. Thus far, we have not distributed any grant funding to our library system, as we are still in the building stages of our endowment.
Once we reach our first goal of $1,000,000 invested, hopefully within 18 months, we can begin to provide 3% of that amount (around $30,000) of grants---ANNUALLY, with the amount to increase with more funding and more time. This money will help sustain our library system forever.
You get to help us save a piece of Americana--our local library system. You get to be a part of the preservation and building of a flourishing citizen-supported library system that will meet all the literacy needs of our community with a collection of great books and materials, excellent staff, and exceptional programming. The LCLSF will recognize donors by advertising your name (business or personal) on our Virtual Donor Wall. You may also wish to give anonymously, and that will be honored.
In addition, we will mail you a really nifty bumper sticker.