by Jonathan Weaver
The Kittanning Public Library is back ‘in-the-black’ in 2012 in terms of financial stability.
Library trustees approved an $115,000 budget at their January meeting, one of which included a $265 balance for 2013.
The nine-member trustee board also approved a three-percent raise increase for three full-time library employees, including Library Director Amanda Gearhart.
Among other notable budgeted expenses this year include new computer chairs and at least one computer.
The upcoming positive balance wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for some cost-cutting measures by library staff in 2011.
In addition to enrolling in the Federal E-rate program to help subsidize more than a third of the library’s Internet and telephone expenses and cutting back on some programming, Bradigan’s, Inc of Kittanning is also donating a used copy machine to prevent staffers from funding their current leased machine. The copier cost more than $2,000 last year.
“Last year, our income was a little bit more than estimated, but some of our expenses were a lot higher because some of our grants required some spending of materials we weren’t initially intending on buying,” Gearhart said.
Almost $25,000 in grant funding through several agencies also gave some much-needed support.
Besides a gift from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, more than $16,000 was donated from the Grable Foundation last summer toward ‘First Steps at Kittanning Public Library’ for preschool children.
Newly-appointed Board Treasurer Patty Goldman was thankful for the grants.
“If we didn’t have that money, we wouldn’t be able to offer those programs,” Goldman said.
Besides the grants, more than $32,000 was raised through community donations and fundraising in 2011, – including more than $16,500 during the inaugural Day of Giving organized through the Armstrong County Community Foundation – Gearhart budgeted for nearly the same in 2012.
“Since 2007, we’ve consistently been getting some sort of grant funding,” Gearhart said.
Trustees also voted to keep their current officers for the year.
New ‘Friends of the Library’ Chairperson Connie Mateer was also in attendance for the meeting.
“I just wanted to stop by and introduce myself and say ‘hello’ to everybody,” Mateer said.
Following the meeting, Gearhart said patron usage of the library has increased and pleased staffers.
“The actual material checked out has gone down, but our computer usage is up,” Gearhart said. “The Kindles are almost-always checked out.”
Trustees will next meet February 13 at the library.