The View from the Librarian’s Desk

August 2004
by Martha Sloan

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I am the coordinator of public services for the Des Plaines Public Library, a medium-sized library right outside Chicago, adjacent to O’Hare Airport. One of my responsibilities is our collection, which includes books and audiovisual materials like DVDs and CDs.

The library serves a diverse community of 57,000. For 20 percent of the population, English is not the primary language. The most common language is Spanish, but we also have a large Eastern European community. And we have many senior patrons. I think in many ways we are representative of what is happening in lots of communities across America. We are trying to serve new immigrants and our older patrons as well as the schoolchildren whose school libraries are facing severe budget cuts. Our patrons are definitely middle class.

Our library budget is about $5.5 million, and of that, the budget for books is $495,000. I divide it up between our Youth Services and Adult Services departments. Approximately $155,000 is allocated for children’s books. Of the remaining $340,000, about $85,000 is for reference books. Thus, all told, we have about $400,000 to spend on the general circulating collection. We also have a budget of $142,000 for audiobooks, CDs, videos, and DVDs; $70,000 for subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, and newsletters; and $95,000 for online databases for reference. Last year we purchased approximately 30,000 books. Although many suburban libraries have bigger materials budgets, I t…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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