Troy Public Library

Your Partner in Creating a Vibrant and Prosperous Community

Frequently Asked Questions about the Library Closing

Cathy Russ - Posted on

(Updated information: May 17, 2011)

[Updated June 3, 2010]

When is the Troy Public Library closing?

On May 10, the Troy City Council adopted a fiscal year 2010-11 budget by a 4-3 vote which is in line with Option 1. Option 1 reduces Library hours in 2010-11, and closes the Library on July 1, 2011.

Why is the Library closing on Saturday?

Public libraries receive funds – State Aid – from the State of Michigan. This Aid pays for Troy's membership in the Suburban Library Cooperative, and gives the Library privileges such as access to the Michigan Electronic Library electronic resources, the MelCat interlibrary loan system, and other services that would cost thousands of dollars if the Library had to purchase them.  Also, State Aid is needed in order to have reciprocal borrowing agreements with libraries not in the Suburban Library Cooperative, such as Rochester Hills, Clawson, Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Bloomfield Township.

In order to receive the benefits of State Aid, there are rules governing its receipt. One is that that Troy Library needs to be open 55 hours per week. Troy is currently open 65 hours per week. This means that only 10 hours can be cut from the Library’s open hours in order to keep State Aid and all of its benefits.

The Library’s budget was reduced $1.2 million for the coming fiscal year. To meet this reduction, cuts were made across the board. However, the majority of these cuts occurred in staffing: seven full time staff members and 23 part time staff members will be laid off prior to July 1. This is one third of the entire library staff. Staffing the library for 55 hours per week after losing one third of the staff is going to be challenging. There is likely to be longer lines to check out material; longer time for returned materials to be checked in and reshelved; and longer wait times for computer assistance and reference assistance.

Now let us look at the Library’s schedule.  The Library is open for 11 hours per day, Monday through Thursday; eight hours a day Friday and Saturday; and five hours on Sunday. There is no question that Saturday is a busy day. Because Saturday is so busy, more staff need to be scheduled that day, to accommodate the demand for service. Scheduling that many staff members on Saturday reduces the number available to cover the remaining days of the week.  So, wait times would be even longer, because the staff would be spread so thin the other 47 open hours during the rest of the week.

In addition, closing on Saturday means that the Library will be closed from 5 pm Friday until 1 pm on Sunday. That will maximize the savings of utilities costs.

Finally, the other factor which was considered was access to library service. Troy residents have resident borrowing and use privileges at the Suburban Library Cooperative libraries. If a Troy resident went to one of those libraries, he or she would be treated like a resident of that community. However, all of the SLC libraries are closed on Sundays in the summer, and most are closed Sundays year-round. With the Troy Library being closed on Saturdays, Troy residents can go to another library on Saturday and receive resident privileges, and use The Troy Library on Sunday. This means that Troy residents will still have seven day access to library service; six of which are at TPL.

Why doesn't the Library just run with volunteers, or have an all-volunteer staff?

Michigan's privacy laws prohibit volunteers from having access to patron records. In other words, it is illegal to allow volunteers to have access to information contained in a person's library record. That is the primary reason why the library cannot have a volunteer staff.

Why can't the Library charge people a membership fee to get a library card?

The Troy Library is prohibited by law from charging residents a yearly fee for an organization supported by tax dollars. This is called an illegal usage fee.

Where can I go if Troy Library closes? What happens to my borrowing privileges?

All resident and non-resident policies - that is, who has access to what - differ by library. Some may offer statewide MeLCat and MichiCard services to non-residents; others may not. Libraries that offer borrowing privileges to non-residents charge a fee. Locally, that fee ranges from $50 to $200. Several libraries in the area will not sell library cards to non-residents at all. These are local decisions, made by the governing body of each individual library. When the Troy Library is closed, Troy residents who want library service should contact local libraries to see where they might obtain service.

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Comments

Submitted by John (not verified) on

I haven't been to the library in over 15 years. Who needs it? Homeless people, people from other cities, etc. Everyone I know has the internet. The city employees are overpaid and their pension and retirement plans are much too generous! Have them all take a 20% pay cut with no pension until 65 years of age and then see if we have the money!

Submitted by Connor (not verified) on

Yes, we should take great heed in someone's opinion about a service they haven't USED IN 15 YEARS. Have you had a house fire in the last fifteen years? No? Okay then, get rid of that USELESS fire department!

Lol.

Submitted by Evan Johnson (not verified) on

     I sir, need the library. As a child my parents took me to the TPL nearly every weekend, and I learned the power held within books. In high school, I would gather with other THS students to study for finals. I kissed my first girlfriend there for the first time. A library is more than simply a place to access the internet. It holds our history as a city, a nation, and as human beings. It is a fixture of any modern community. If we want to continue to call ourselves "The City of Tomorrow, Today" then this should be a non-issue. 

     I currently serve in West Africa with the US Peace Corps. I promote literacy. The confidence, knowledge, and delight that children gain from reading is astounding. I've felt it, and I hope to one day share it with my own children. 

     As for your claim that there are homeless people there. I've never seen any. Considering the library's proximity to the police station, this claim is spurious at best, and inflammatory at worst. And since when is Troy closed to residents of other cities? Did you ask these "out-of-towners" where they were from? Or is your memory just a little foggy? I mean it was 15 years ago. Last time I checked we share a metro area of over 5M inhabitants. People that come to use our community center often stay in the area and promote local business. 

     As far as city employees' benefits, I cannot comment, as I simply don't know. I do know that the TPL employs only 6 permanent staff. The financial argument is bunk when you consider what the lack of a library does to property values, not to mention the success rates of our schools.

Submitted by Jane (not verified) on

That's just sad. I hope you're a random Internet troll. That you haven't actually been to the library when it's packed full of schoolchildren & adults sharing a love of reading and learning.

Submitted by Tim (not verified) on

Referring to the question and answer, 

Why can't the Library charge people a membership fee to get a library card?

The Troy Library is prohibited by law from charging residents a yearly fee for an organization supported by tax dollars. This is called an illegal usage fee.

Now that we don't have tax dollar support, it should then be ok to go with a paid library to support the operation of the library. Why not?

 

Submitted by Ann Strecker (not verified) on

I am so sad about Troy's library closing, today I started searching for a new library to be able to go to and get books...I called Birmingham Library and was told that no, Troy residents could not purchase a card to use their library unless I wanted to pay taxes in Birmingham.. amd that any resident of Troy who had a Birmingham card, the card would be void when Troy closes

.I then called the Clawson library and was told that yes, I could buy a card and would be able to use their libary....the cost $100.00 per person per year....humm, let me think, tax increase to keep the libary open and keep other things running smoothly in Troy, Roads, Police, save the jobs of the people who work in library or spend 200.00 to use another city's library....

Submitted by Alison (not verified) on

Wow. I've recently moved to Michigan and am stunned that a city as committed to education as Troy seems to be is failing to keep their public library open.  It's a shame.

Where I lived for the last 30 years, if a library wasn't supported by it's community, and lost state aid funds, those townspeople could not borrow from other libraries (that maintained certification), not even for a fee.  It was pretty strong impetus to encourage communities to do the right thing and keep their library open and funded.

A library is the heart of a community. The American Library Associaiton has this to say about the role of such an institution in a democracy:

A democracy presupposes an informed citizenry. The First Amendment mandates the right of all persons to free expression, and the corollary right to receive the constitutionally protected expression of others. The publicly supported library provides free and equal access to information for all people of the community the library serves.   from: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statementspols/corevaluesstatement/corevalues.cfm#democracy

Good luck, Troy! I hope your citizenry is able to turn this sad situation around.

Submitted by Blair (not verified) on

What will happen to all of the books in the library? Will they be donated or distributed to other libraries?

Submitted by a young adult r... (not verified) on

Way before the recent recession even started, the automotive industry was already in a dilemma. Which followed by a national recession by which Michigan was hit the hardest.  My dad works at Chrysler and has not gotten a salary increase in the past 5 years do to the crisis.  Not just Chrysler, but the general population salary has not increased by much over the past several years.  In contrast, the City of Troy employees have been getting a raise every year.  Does that make sense?  The general population's salary has halted while the City of Troy employees salary has been increasing?  Therefore more of our tax money is going towards their salary increase than spending it on things such as our community library?  We don't need to cut spending by closing down our Library, they need to cut the salary of the city employees.  The City of Troy manager makes over $200,000 a year which makes him one of the highest paid city manager in the United States.

Why are we having to close down our Library?  Because they're spending more tax money on raising their salary than spending it on the services of our community.

How do we solve this budget problem? Don't increase our tax, cut the employees' salaries.

I hope repeating my point over and over is sticking in everyone's head.

Submitted by Phillip Kwik on

Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, you are incorrect on the salary raises of the employees about which you speak.

The Troy Public Library employees had their wages frozen beginning July 1, 2009. Since January 1, 2010, we have had a 5% pay cut.

Repeating your point over and over again does not make it correct.

Submitted by DJM (not verified) on

What number of people use the library vs the aquatic center, nature center and historical area? Shouldn't other areas be on the chopping block before the library?

Submitted by mom (not verified) on

Libraries in other cities (Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Rochester...etc.) don’t have the same problem. Only in Troy. What is the difference?? I visited several libraries and they had interesting and great services. We pay enough tax. I would say because our city doesn’t know how to use our tax money. This is it.

The difference is that some half-wits changed our city charter so that in a crisis the city cannot raise our tax rate. So when the city loses a huge amount of revenue, as they have since Troy property values started plummeting (and my taxes went DOWN $800 per year) there is nothing the city council can do is cut. Every year they lose more revenue, so every year they have to make more deep cuts.

Who led the charge to change the city charter? Ed Kempen and Marty Howrylak and the other conservative council members. Who are people blaming? The current council.

http://keeptroystrong.blogspot.com/

 

Submitted by misterG (not verified) on

The charter was changed via public election.  The "half wits" you refer too were the majority voters.

Submitted by Literate Troy (not verified) on

Those who lead the charge were not thinking carefully. And I know many people who voted for the change who regret their vote. 

Troy is not in crisis because our employees are bad. Our employees are suffereing and being laid off and getting wage cuts.

Our problem is the recession, the resulting decreasing property taxes and thus the lower revenues to the city. Since their is no way to recover even a tiny portion of the lost revenues, except by cutting and cutting, cut they must.

Submitted by Al Burk (not verified) on

Yes, thats the way liberals, socilists and gov employees think. When the voters decide something you dont like, you say they  are ignorant. Sounds like you would do well in a dictatorship. The party is over. You people go and vote for things like same sex health care while the regular non union citizen works for less and has no health care. Yes, the party is over. The global elitists are de developing our country and drastically reducing our standard of living. I guess you people thought you were not included. Welcome to the club.

Submitted by phlewa@yahoo.com (not verified) on

You are right. The Troy Library has been running on a budget of almost 4 million dollars. Even the Library Director Cathy Russ has  admitted the Troy Library "could"  have been run and/or kept open all these years for only 2-2.5 million.   We have seen the same thing in other city departments.  We see today that the city of Troy "could" have been run lots cheaper than what we spent in the past.  Today the City Manager is bragging about how much they now saving by having laid off and outsourced services, but why didnt they run the city cheaper before now?   Why didnt they do it before?  Why did we have hundreds of extra city  government employees for years and years and years that we really did not need back then? 

Submitted by Cathy Russ on

Thank you for your comments.

I have been quoted in the Troy Times as stating that “the library could run on $2 million per year,” or words to that effect.  I can assure you that I did not make that statement as it has been attributed to me.

The library’s budget was reduced by $1.4 million for the current fiscal year. At the budget hearings in May, the Troy City Council asked me what effect such a reduction would have on library service.  My response? A reduction in materials, a reduction in staff, closure at least one day per week, elimination of programming, longer lines at checkout, and longer wait times for requests for information.

The library is currently open, and the budget (operating + collections) for this year is just under $2.7 million dollars.

Submitted by a dad (not verified) on

totaly agree , we go everyweek to rochester library as I work in rochester, and BIG BIG difference between both libraries, with great attitude in rochester and creative options and fun place for  kids comparing with the gloomy troy library , they have to propose a change before asking for money!!

Submitted by phlewa@yahoo.com (not verified) on

Rochester also has a beautiful new City Hall, the best city parks in SE Michigan,  and a wonderful police force. 

Submitted by KTM (not verified) on

You mentioned other cities like Birmiingham, West Blmfld, Rochester, etc. don't have this "Library Crisis" that we have. 

And, you mentioned that "We pay enough tax." West Blmfld is a township, so it's taxes are probably lower, but so are the total breadth of services that the local government provide.

Did you want to know what other CITY millage rates are compared to Troy's?

Here's a sample comparison for you from this online doc: http://www.troymi.gov/finance/PAFR2009.pdf

Troy Millage: 9.28

Birmingham: 14.0936

Rochester Hills: 9.7060 (and residents have to hire their own trash and recycling pickup)

Rochester (City): 12.4304

Royal Oak: 11.4333

...go to the link to see a list of 25 Cities in Oakland County.

Your TOTAL amount of property taxes you pay go to many agencies - the County, the School District, the bus system. Your City taxes (that 9.28 millage rate) counts for less than a third (27%) of your total annual taxes. It's easy to lump all your taxes together - but it's not all the same bucket of money.

This might not change your opinion, but it's still good to wrap your mind around where your money has been going.

 

Submitted by grandmajustdied... (not verified) on

The reality is NOT EVERY resident in Troy has been getting lower taxable values, thus lower taxes. For those of us who are paying your exorbant wages, we DO NOT want YET ANOTHER increase! You undermine the mentality of Troy residents by stating that 99.00 per yr is about what an average resident will pay. REALITY is .... an average home value of 350,000. will need to cough up 350.00 more a year! Plus, the increase of taxes, for those you chose to single out, and INCREASE property taxes on annually, it is too much to ask for MORE! Troy employees with $200,000.00 annual yearly salary is too much in this economy for ANY Troy employee. Learn to do your fair share of cutting from your wallet, not just from the residents, and your mentality of exclusion of CERTAIN city employees to give their fair share. And what ever happened to the idea tossed around about only hiring a lawyer as needed...do we really need to keep one full time? As a legal issue arises, consult a lawyer, pay the one time fee and save us much more thousands per year. Vote NO...you are sucking us dry....especially those you keep raising property taxes on in THIS economy!! We may have passed this. IF you would NOT have singled out certain people for annual property tax increases!!

Submitted by phlewa@yahoo.com (not verified) on

I dont understand. The millage proposal that we had in February, was twice as high as the  current proposal, but back in February we were told it would only cost us  $38.00.

The new ballot proposals next week  are for only half the February proposed rate, but "they" tell us these new proposals will now cost us $100.

How can the November new millage that is only at half the rate of the old February one,  still cost us twice as much? 

 

Submitted by a dad (not verified) on

you are absulotely wrong , we lived in rochester hills for three years, the numbers you've mentioned are not even close to what we use to pay, and by the way  , rocheste hills library is serving the three ( Oakland twp, rochester and rocheste hills) with tax reveneu only from rochester hills residents

Submitted by Literate Troy (not verified) on

Because what you're saying is untrue. ALL libraries are having trouble, but their city's citizens have passed millages to keep them going.  The millage for an independent Troy library would make our library independent of the Troy government so the problem you're describing is just what Proposal 1 would cure! If you DON'T like Troy's government but you do love the library then vote yes.

Or are you just making excuses to vote no?

 

Submitted by Aramjm (not verified) on

So let me get this straight.

Troy is one of the safest cities in the world.

It's one of the richest counties in the world.

3 out of 4 of our high schools are on the top 1000 of America.

Troy School District is considered one of the best districts in the USA.

We have continuously placed on "Best Cities to live in" lists.

Our government and public services are in good condition.

 

But we can't even keep a library open? That's sad, but this also seems awfully suspicious.

Submitted by Mom in Troy (not verified) on

Did you check out your taxable value of your house recently? The city is not getting any where close to the amount of money in taxes that they used to get. That is why our library is closing. If people had been more informed about the fact that our taxes weren't really going up 29% with the passing of the millage (because our taxes in general were going down so much), then maybe we would have passed the millage after all. 

Submitted by Francine Joy Allen (not verified) on

As a librarian myself, I would have liked to see you point out, in your answer to the FAQ about all-volunteer staff, all the expertise which paid staff contribute in areas such as reference-service, programs, computer- and other technical help to patrons, etc.  In fact, if you were to listen to or view the first hour from the Diane Rehm show on NPR for yesterday (accessible at www.drshow.org and go to 6/29/10 programs) you would hear some of the nation's top library-leaders discussing the value which these services add to libraries and, in turn, to the well-being of communities.  In order to offer these services, library staff must have appropriate training and education, as well as the sort of investment in using their skills that comes from being paid to use them.  I hope the Troy Library will be able to avoid closing in 2011, and that you will continue to advocate for libraries and their value to communities in an effort to prevent this unfortunate possibility.

Submitted by Gayle (not verified) on

As an MLIS student at WSU, many times the situation regarding Troy's Library has been discussed in our classes.  As a Troy resident, I do believe that the library deserves a SEPARATE millage, much like other libraries have, for it's operating expenses.  In all of the press surrounding this unfortunate situation, not one thing has been mentioned about a separate millage for our library.  Why?

I'm confident that the voters rejected the millage increase last year because of how it was packaged and marketed to the voters.  Right now is not a good time for government anywhere to try to "pull the wool" over the eyes of the voter.  As evidenced by the number of incumbents being voted out of office and the Tea Party movement, people are upset with their elected officials and other government employees.  I know that I certainly am.

Let's do the right thing for our library and get a separate millage for it!  By the way, choosing to close the library on Saturday has got to be one of the worst decisions ever made in the City of Troy!  Why not close the library on Sunday and Monday and be open Tuesday through Saturday?  That way, the entire staff has two days off in a row and the patrons (along with the year-long students in the area) receive the benefit of having their beloved library open on Saturday!

Submitted by phlewa@yahoo.com (not verified) on

We were told that the rejected millage in February would have only cost us $38 a year. Now, we are being told that the 4 new ballot proposals this November will cost us $100.

But......................it does not make sense, because the new November millage is for only HALF the rate of the rejected November millage rate.

Submitted by Troyboy (not verified) on

You sound like you'll fit right in with government. The recent Troy millage proposal didn't pass due to the packaging and marketing? Seriously ?

Either the millage increase made sense or it didn't. There shouldn't need to be a need for marketing and packaging the tax payers dollars for an attempt to fleece them further of said dollars.

When city council will extend union contracts without asking for a single concession or when Troy union members garner a 16% 401(k) city contribution whether they add anything themselves or not the taxpayers are not going to continue to support this sort of bloat. Yet Troy union employees continue to enjoy benefits and pay that most residents of Troy never have.

Name me one facility that Troy has built/created that is self sustaining? Aquatic center? DEFICIT Museum? DEFICIT Community Center? DEFICIT Nature Center? DEFICIT Sanctuary Lake Golf course ? DEFICIT 

No one wanted these facilities in Troy except for a few people. Obviously the majority did not otherwise they would be utilizing these facilities.  So for those of you that think everyone should pay for a few to use something thing again. All those great years of Troy being a city full of business and taxpayers paying large tax rolls believing their dollars were being well spent are over. Where is all that money now that times are lean ? The mayor and council have squandered it all like politicians will always do.

The library is bloated and quite frankly purchases items I think the majority have come to find don't belong in a library. Video games ? Music? Movies ? when did it become the tax payers responsibility to subsidize the entertainment of a family? 50 computers, internet, printers, scanners & cd burners ? I highly doubt the majority feel these are required items either let alone a good use of our money. City Council spending $100k on a canopy at the library as well as spending $400k on items to add to the library collection after they decided to close it? Wasteful spending at the very least. Catastrophic mismanagement  most likely.

My understanding is that the Troy Library collection is loaned out more to non residents than to actual residents by a 60% - 40% rate. Why exactly are Troy taxpayers subsidizing other city libraries that either don't spend as much or refuse to spend on the items we've spent year over year ?

If the city of Troy wants to further waste taxpayer dollars with another attempt at a millage increase I would most certainly believe it will be defeated again and there will be several members of council gone along with it. The wasteful spending and disregard for what the majority of residents want in Troy has gone on long enough. 

It's time the employees of Troy as well as the Mayor and council come to grips with what the rest of us in the private sector have long ago.

Submitted by localteacher (not verified) on

The city of Troy has so much to offer it's community members.  With the explosion of technology, people just don't take the opportunity to get to know other people in their own backyard.  Cell phones, email, Facebook, etc. take the place of one-on-one interaction that brings people and communities together.  Troy's library and other resources provide gathering places for people to come together and work on forming relationships with their neighbors and other residents.  Our children benefit from the face time with other kids and families.  Kids who have this face time tend to stay out of trouble, and make wise decisions about their behavior and education.  The library and other places Troy supports provide opportunities to nurture our future leaders and help them become responsible adults.  I agree that there needs to be a review of the budget, but let's not throw the whole library away to prove a point.  Our kids' future (and yours as a future senior citizen living in a world run by today's kids) depends on it. I'd much rather see my kids at the library then smoking a joint at the local mall. 

Submitted by Troyboy (not verified) on

That's precisely what the Troy Mayor and City Council are doing. They have refused to look into ANY concessions or reductions in the budget before they come asking for more money.

The Mayor and Council immediately used thug scare tactics in the hope that the good people of Troy would give in and immediately give them the funds to further the status quo rather than make the much needed tough decisions required of leaders.

As for the rumor of this new millage for the library it couldn't start off any worse than it has. Asking for $4.38 million after it was said the library could remain open for $2 million ?  If it's a seperate entity sure there will be SOME overhead expense. But it surely won't be $2+ million worth. As well as there should then be a reduction in staffing required for the city if they are no longer handling the library affairs.  Yet I'm sure Council and Mayor will attempt to dismiss that notion.

The voice that the people of Troy gave in Feb. was not that we don't want the library but that we refuse to be held up by thugs.  Until the Troy mayor and city council start acting in accordance with their positions and start handle the affairs of this city in relation to the wishes of the people who elected them I believe we will not see any millage pass.

Submitted by Literate Troy (not verified) on

There have been concessions and tons of lay-offs. You are GUESSING and singing a dreary old song that isn't even true.

Please, go to the library and take advantage of the free newspapers and read about what happens at city council meetings.

Submitted by Cathy Russ on

Thank you for your comment.

In fact, Troy residents check out the vast majority of material from the Library. From October 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010, Troy residents checked out 81.5% of all material the library circulated. Looking at the monthly circulation statistics, circulation to Troy residents is usually between 80-85%.

The Troy Public Library is a member of the Suburban Library Cooperative. Troy residents have "resident" privileges in SLC member libraries (i.e. Sterling Heights, Warren), and residents of those communities have "resident" borrowing privileges at TPL. From October 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009, checkouts to residents of SLC member library communities was 6%.

Checkouts to those who work in Troy (those businesses pay Troy taxes), as well as residents of other communities, was 9%.

The other 3.5% of circulation is to library staff members and Troy residents who are homebound.

Submitted by Phillip Kwik on

Thank you for your comment.

The Friends of the Troy Public Library have been discussing a separate library millage for several weeks. The next public meeting of the Friends is Monday, June 21, at 7 pm, in the Library Meeting Room. There is certain to be more discussion at this meeting.

The meeting is open to everyone.

Submitted by Amy (not verified) on

I heard from someone at the Library that the intention was to close on Saturdays beginning in July.  Why on earth would the library close on a day that is prime time for its customers?  The staffer further informed me that the librarians didn't want to work on weekends, and that is why Saturday was selected to be the day closed.  Is this true?  To be honest, I can't believe it - close on Monday - Wednesday, and stay open Thursday - Sunday!

Submitted by Cathy Russ on

Thank you for your comment about the Troy Public Library closing on Saturdays.  First, I want to say that the decision to close Saturdays was absolutely NOT made because librarians do not want to work weekends. I am very sorry that someone on the Library staff told you that, because that is NOT why the decision was made.

To answer your question, I must first give you some background. Public libraries receive funds – State Aid – from the State of Michigan. This Aid pays for our membership in the Suburban Library Cooperative, and gives us privileges such as access to the Michigan Electronic Library electronic resources, the MelCat interlibrary loan system, and other services that would cost thousands of dollars if we had to purchase them.  Also, we need State Aid in order to have reciprocal borrowing agreements with libraries not in the Suburban Library Cooperative, such as Rochester Hills, Clawson, Royal Oak, Birmingham, and Bloomfield Township.

In order to receive the benefits of State Aid, there are rules governing its receipt. One is that that Troy Library needs to be open 55 hours per week. Troy is currently open 65 hours per week. This means that only 10 hours can be cut from the Library’s open hours in order to keep State Aid and all of its benefits.

The Library’s budget was reduced $1.2 million for the coming fiscal year. To meet this reduction, cuts were made across the board. However, the majority of these cuts occurred in staffing: seven full time staff members and 23 part time staff members will be laid off prior to July 1. This is one third of the entire library staff. Staffing the library for 55 hours per week after losing one third of the staff is going to be challenging. I anticipate that there will be longer wait times to check out material; longer time for returned materials to be checked in and reshelved; and longer wait times for computer assistance and reference assistance.

Now let us look at the Library’s schedule.  The Library is open for 11 hours per day, Monday through Thursday; eight hours a day Friday and Saturday; and five hours on Sunday. There is no question that Saturday is a busy day. Because Saturday is so busy, more staff need to be scheduled that day, to accommodate the demand for service. Scheduling that many staff members on Saturday reduces the number available to cover the remaining days of the week.  So, those wait times, which I anticipate will already be longer than those to which patrons are accustomed, would be even longer, because the staff would be spread so thin the other 47 open hours during the rest of the week.

In addition, closing on Saturday means that the Library will be closed from 5 pm Friday until 1 pm on Sunday. That will maximize the savings of utilities costs.

Finally, the other factor which was considered was access to library service. Troy residents have resident borrowing and use privileges at the Suburban Library Cooperative libraries. If you went to one of those libraries, you would be treated like a resident of that community. However, all of the SLC libraries are closed on Sundays in the summer, and most are closed Sundays year-round. With the Troy Library being closed on Saturdays, Troy residents can go to another library on Saturday and receive resident privileges, and use The Troy Library on Sunday. This means that you will still have seven day access to library service; six of which are at TPL.

I think it is important to inform you about all the factors that went into this decision. I realize that it may not be popular, and may make many people unhappy. However, my priority was to maximize the Library’s budget, remaining staff, and hours over the next year, in order to provide the best possible service.

Submitted by Brian (not verified) on

I personally love that you are closing on Saturdays. People don't consider air important until it's gone. Only when they are in pain do they do something. Good for you, and I hope that the community gets their act together here! Your library is excellent. What a sad day.

Submitted by Jennifer (not verified) on

As an educator who has benefited from libraries over the years, I am very disappointed by all the comments from people who think running the library with volunteers is an acceptable solution. Maybe, MAYBE, that could be a last ditch effort to maintain some sort of library services but it would be a shell of a library, literally. Librarians are highly trained professionals with advanced degrees in their field. Many other staff members are very skilled and experienced as well. I have relatives who work in libraries, and in general librarians and library staff are NOT very well paid, especially when you consider how much education they are required to have. (I'm sure the local librarians would be happy to help you research the average salaries for people in their profession!)
 
For instance, all those books, DVDs, CDs, etc you see on the shelf are carefully selected by librarians. Yes, best sellers might be purchased en masse, but what about the rest? Librarians spend time evalauting things using their expertise to decide if they meet the needs of the collection, are high quality, etc. They balance the needs of the community, debate suggestions, and squeeze the most out of their budget. That's a process most volunteers are not familiar with. Undoubtedly, people could eventually learn it, but who would train them?
 
OK, what if the collection was not increased (which would quickly lead to a pretty worthless, out-of-date collection by the way), and volunteers just helped people access what was there? Well, what happens if you read a book and really like it but want to know what else is out there that's similar? Amazon.com might offer you a few "if you like x, you'll enjoy y", but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Librarians have a wide ranging knowledge about books, authors, genres, etc. Maybe you'll get lucky and find a volunteer who's a big reader, but will they have the knowledge to help you with all kinds of books, or just the ones they read? And what if you're doing research? Would most volunteers know how to teach you how to convert your resume to a PDF document? Do they know what book to use to help you track down the value of your grandma's antique? Could they help you locate local companies that manufacture some raw material your business needs? Could they help you find the best books about training your new puppy? Could they tell you how to find a copy of your father's obituary? Could they help your child find age-appropriate sources for their science fair project? Again, maybe, but probably not without lots of training and experience.
 
Other library staff are important too. Could volunteers handle the volume of stuff that gets returned each day? Someone has to go through it all, mark it in the computer system, and return it to the shelves. That's gotta be time consuming! And who would maintain all the information in the computer system? Who you want a volunteer handling your personal info? Who would clean the bathrooms? Who would change the burnt out lightbulbs? Who would fix it when a computer breaks? I know these all seem like small things but they take a lot of time--you'd really have to have an army of volunteers. And of course, without money there would be no new best sellers, no more DVDs (and no replacements for the tons of titles that get damaged), no programs, no outreach events, no arts & crafts projects, no databases (because those have expensive subscription fees). Personally, I would think at that point no library would be better, rather than maintaining a shell that would quickly deteriorate. And I think it's insulting to the Troy librarians/staff to propose that their expertise is so worthless.
 
Unfortunately, I'm no longer a Troy resident so I cannot vote, but I feel very badly for the library, it's employees, and all the town residents. I certainly respect the right of a community to decide it does not need a library, but losing a successful library like this is a sad step that cannot be easily undone. I hope this decision is not made lightly. Best of luck to all the hard working librarians, staff, and friends!

Submitted by marvinreinhardt (not verified) on

FROM YEARS,of me 1st,,TROY's  super-rich's piggy bank,,and TROY high SCHOOL put in the corner,,TROY was plumdered by ATHRENS thinkING people,,more grass and parks,,less cement,,and being a puppet of the TROY Chamber of COMMENCE.LAST TwO Mayors came from public school systems,,look what happen.

Submitted by Gina (not verified) on

In this day and age, has a non-profit shown interest in running the library?  The Detroit Zoo was once run by the City of Detroit but is now run by a non-profit.  Food for thought!
 
Honestly, I still can't believe that people didn't support the millage.  We had a reduction in taxes this year and that could have made up for the cost of the services lost.  Hopefully the City will think of something to get things back in order. 

Submitted by Literate Troy (not verified) on

Passing Proposal 1 will mean that a non-profit, the library board, will run our library, not our city govt. So vote yes.

Submitted by Jennifer Halucha (not verified) on

I agree with the other comments. If the city isn't running it on tax dollars anymore then 1. they can charge a fee for a card and 2. have volunteers help run it. I am for that! I use it all the time and love having it. I don't feel the city has to close it or threaten us because the millage didn't pass. They first need to find ways to keep it open( call me, I will give you my list). Now is the time to think outside the box and get the job done.Even at this point there is to much money being wasted on other things that can be cut(salaries to start).Please look at your budget and say to yourself....do we really need to hire the people to change out the flowers three times a year?,have four people at one desk to do one job,cutting of the lawns could be expanded out a few more days to shorten the amount of times they are there,hours of operation can be cut just one hour a day to make a differnce, etc, etc.

This goes for the community center as well. shutting off lights not used in rooms,lawn service,maintance and staff could be cut by just a little and make a difference. raise prices by a few dollars. Come on guys lets get it together and not scare us into thinking our great city is falling apart. I heard talk of people wanting to move because of what you are planning and that's not going to make things any better! I moved here because of the great schools and community and that is what is going to keep others coming but if you start closing down those attractions(leaving empty buildings) then who will want to move here or stay for that matter.

 I am getting off my soap box now, but for suggestions please feel free to contact me. We need a lean mean budget and some real creative ways to do it!

Submitted by Simone (not verified) on

If the library is not running on tax dollars, who do you think will pay for everything or anything?  It the city does not pay for it, it will CLOSE.

Did you know volunteers spent over 11,000 hours at the library last year!!  They have a great group of volunteers.  However volunteers fit their volunteer hours in with other part of their lives.  They cannot be depended on to show up all the time, at all the hours they are open, nor to work 20-30 hours a week!!!  I cannot imagine how many volunteers that would take.  And many people suggest the library runs with volunteers, but wonder if volunteers are calling all the time to offer.  Did you fill out a volunteer form?  Or see the other posting on this site that volunteers cannot access patron records so severly limits what they can do?

And you have some good suggestions, many of which are already being used (reducing energy, flowers, payroll).  And charging for a card has already been discussed as it is illegal.  Look at the information given by the director of the library on this site.  But the city has to save hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars, not just a few hundred dollars.  And it would have only cost us each around $50 a year to have things stay closer to the same.  Less than a cup of coffee a week.  I voted yes for the millage and could cry that the citizens of Troy would not support the places that make Troy unique and a place where I want to live.  My children have all benefited from the Nature Center, the Museum, the Library and Parks and Recreation programs/community center.  And the constant attacking of the library employees and their wages when they are mostly paid a very modest income, have already taken a 5% pay cut, and hours and staff have been reduced in the past year already with more deep reductions by city council in the next couple weeks as they look at the budget.  They have been cutting for the past 3 years.

A great organization to contact to help the library is The Friends of the Troy Public library: friendstpl@gmail.com [ed. note: corrected May 11] Perhaps you should contact them and see what of your ideas are viable, and what are already being done, though unseen to you.  And offer to volunteer for them to help save the library.

I hope you come to a city council meeting as tonight, Apirl 19th, tomorrow, April 20th,  and Monday, April 26th and Monday, May 3rd will be discussions of the budget

The citizens of Troy need to tell the city council what they consider important and if another millage is needed in the fall, perhaps more Troy residents will realize the value they get for very few dollars for the quality of life resources we currently have, but will lose in a very few months.  Citizens need to be involved with this process.  It is always such a poor turnout for city council meetins which affect so much of the way we live and what our future will be.

I am the web designer for the Friends of Troy Library web site, and wanted to alert anyone reading the prior post that the email address shown there for the Friends is incorrect.

The correct email address for the Friends is:

friendstpl@gmail.com (only one S)

You can find out more information on ways to help the Friends support Troy Library by visiting their web site:  www.friendstpl.org

 

Submitted by Jim Marino (not verified) on

Jennifer, right now the Troy Library is well known and recognized as one of the best Libraries in the State of Michigan. To be the best, you must provide superior customer service by a knowledgeable and professional staff. Troy is a busy library and the desks are staffed appropriately. People don’t like waiting in lines for services and those on the front lines are already going to feel the brunt of people’s anger when the library cuts staff and hours.  It boggles my mind that you suggest running the library on volunteers and asking already underpaid professionals with Masters Degrees to work for even less. What other profession that requires a graduate level degree starts you at $35-40K a year? I'm married to a librarian with 20+ years experience and I can tell you that she is not overpaid for her education, experience, and knowledge.  Asking that professionals take huge a pay cut because Troy residents decided that $40-80 A YEAR in property taxes was too much to pay for vital city services is insulting. Why don't we run the police department on volunteers? Health care costs too much too so why not skip your doctor and look for a volunteer clinic and hospital? Why do we need to pay those road workers so much? I can put together a group of volunteers to patch the roads, too! You get what you pay for. A volunteer library without degreed Librarians will not qualify for State Aid and other grants and the cost of a card will far exceed the tax dollar equivalent.

I fail to understand why people can't do the math here. Falling revenue + increasing expenses = enormous deficits. I work in the corporate world and you have to attack that kind of problem not only by reducing expenses but by increasing revenue. Unfortunately, that means the nasty "T" word that everyone hates. Taxes. That is the main revenue source. I don’t think the city is trying to scare the residents. They are just being brutally honest.

Submitted by Mel (not verified) on

Well said Mr. Marino.

People fail to recognize that a library can not run on volunteers alone. There are well trained professionals that contribute substantially to the efficiency and quality of service provided at the library. Most librarian positions require a Masters Degree, but are hugely undercompensated for the amount of education required.

Well-trained librarians and libraries are very important to the intellectual and educational potential community. Furthermore, Libraries are at the forefront of freedom and democracy. It is incredibly disappointing and scary that the Troy community does not place enough value on the library that they are not willing to pay $40-$80 a year in taxes for services that far outweigh that amount. Getting a card outside of the community will likely cost more than that.

Those who will suffer the most are the people that cannot afford to purchase a card in another community or do not have the means to get to another library. When jobs and other information is increasingly online, how will those without access to computers be able to apply for jobs or print resumes. How will those who cannot afford to purchase books get information.

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