Royal Oak Public Library Presents City Commission With Annual Report

Library is concerned about its structural deficit.

The Royal Oak Public Library had 519,595 visitors last year.
The Royal Oak Public Library had 519,595 visitors last year.
Recapping the accomplishments and struggles of the library during fiscal year 2012-13, Library Board Secretary Joan Koelsch presented the library's annual report Monday to the Royal Oak City Commission.

"I am pleased to point out that we were able to complete the fiscal year without dipping into fund balance," Koelsch said, quickly adding the library still faces a structural deficit. 

The dedicated millage revenue in the library's current fiscal year, and the one just completed, is under $2 million for the first time since 2005, Koelsch said. The millage accounts for more than 90 percent of the library's operating revenue.

The library has made a number of cuts in the past several years, including reducing book and DVD purchases, reducing library hours from 60 to 56 hours a week and not replacing full-time positions, Koelsch said, and a semi-annual appeal for monetary donations has been met with great generosity. 

"The generous donations and spending cuts have in essence provided an essential bandaid but have not healed our structural deficit," Koelsch said. "The Library Board of Trustees is concerned about and is exploring ways to address this issue."

Library Revenues

  • Library millage: $1,985,723 (2012-2013); $2,011,806 (2010-2011)
  • Transfer from balance fund: $0 (2012-2013); $1,558 (2010-2011)

Library Expenditures

  • Personnel:$1,399,398 (2012-2013); $1,413,114 (2010-2011)
  • Books, music, video:$138,036 (2012-2013); $161,518 (2010-2011)
  • Other expenses: $705,105 (2012-2013); $695,766 (2010-2011)
  • Total operating expenses:$2,279,737 (2012-2013); $2,223,200 (2010-2011)

Library Activities

  • Visitors:  519,595 (Percentage change: -19 percent)
  • Programs:  521 (Percentage change: 0 percent)
  • Program Attendance: 15,441 (Percentage change: 0 percent)
  • Reference Questions: 39,469 (Percentage change: -1 percent)
  • Computer Uses: 66,234 (Percentage change: -11 percent)
  • Lending Transactions: 424,592(Percentage change: -5 percent)
  • Card Holders: 32,367 (Percentage change: 0 percent)
  • Collection Size: 189,135 (Percentage change: 1 percent)

Of interest in 2012-2013

  • Interest in and usage of e-books continues togrow. ROPL continues to offer free borrowing of e-books and audio books to Royal Oak Library card holders.
  • ROPL’s redesigned website debuted in June 2013.
  • Discounted or free passes to Michigan cultural venues, free day use passes to the State Parks, discounted Detroit Zoo offers are all available through ROPL.
  • Two more colorful mosaic panels created at the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce’s Clay, Glass and Metal Festival were unveiled in the Youth Services area of ROPL. These represent the third year and fifth and sixth mosaic panels of this impressive community art project.
  • ROPL’s Live Music Series was presented on selected Saturday afternoons throughout the year.
  • Book Buddies, a new book club for 5 - 8 year olds, was funded by a Target Grant.
  • The summer reading program continues to encourage people of all ages to read for enjoyment during the summer.
anna d February 05, 2014 at 07:48 AM
Judy, how about an explanation of what a "structural" deficit is, and why in spite of cuts in the past it still exists. Why has revenue from the millage decreased? What does this financial report really means for royal oak library users?
Ed Callahan February 06, 2014 at 06:33 AM
The report shown does not spell out what comprises the “structural deficit”, but I would guess that it would be the libraries portion of the $179,000,000 in unfunded pension obligations that the City of Royal Oak has the responsibility to address.
anna d February 06, 2014 at 12:07 PM
Agreed. The post does not explain what a structural deficit is (it's not a term people use every day) and it does not spell out what comprises a structural deficit in this particular budget. I appreciate the list of budget numbers, but the post begs for more information/explanation via follow-up questions.


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