Library Personnel Connect at Indiana Library Federation Conference November 2015

The Indiana Library Federation connected library personnel for two days in November. The conference theme was “Strengthening Connections: Your Key to Success.” The keynote speaker, author Daniel Handler, emphasized his connections where he related his past experience reading local newspapers, and curiously reading unusual stories Not in Kansasthat may or may not be a lesson to the reader. The results are Daniel Handler’s Lemony Snicket stories, a “series of unfortunate events.” I give you a small sampling of fortunate events that started on Tuesday November 16, the first day of the conference.

“Arguing for Aristotle: Connecting the Evolution of Small towns and the Future of Public Libraries” by Zachary Benedict reinforced my belief in libraries as public spaces to make people happy, to assist the public with their inward development, where quality civic space and a good life are experienced. It was not all philosophical. 80% of libraries are in small towns of less than 25,000 people. So like Greek and Roman public spaces, public libraries need to be well designed and well intended.

This was followed by “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” a panel of library directors and technical service person discussed the implementation of broadband technology in their library spaces. Discussion began with what each library has in terms of technology infrastructure, what obstacles there are to overcome (more than money alone), what success looks like, and where to go in the future.

Wednesday, November 17, a packed room with a standing crowd enjoyed Laura Solomon presentation on “Absolutely Free (and Practically Unknown) Online Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed.” Some sites are for productivity but she closed the presentation with, an Internet tool to Cookie Monster your web pages. All of us need sites that can assist us in handling information but levity is good, too.

Participants laughed at themselves, recalled memories and experiences, and look to the coming year to implement what was learned in our conference connections.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, Library Development Librarian and Professional Development Office Librarian. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email

Strategic Library Planning

PlanExcellence is a moving target in today’s world, where change is a constant. It requires vision and leadership to build a long range or strategic plan to navigate the future and incorporate change. The importance of planning is demonstrated by the detailed strategic plan requirements outlined in Public Library Standards. Continue reading

Library Budgets

Starting in early July, 237 Indiana public libraries plan a budget. This will tell how the library spends money in the next calendar year. Library expenses are for services such as staff, materials, facilities and technology. These services are determined by the library community goals as outlined in their strategic plan.

Libraries in Indiana can levy a tax that results in revenue from property tax; the other money is received from miscellaneous tax such as sales tax, some local income tax, and revenue the library generates itself through fines and fees.

There are two authorities that oversee the library and its budget plan: the library board, and The Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), a state agency. Each year the budget can grow according to a growth quotient, a number that is calculated from federal data based on the growth of personal income. The DLGF issues the growth quotient and the library board calculates the budget with input from library director. The budget estimate with the calculation results in a levy and a tax.

The budget approval process follows the budget calendar. First the public is given notice through two advertisements in September, then a public hearing is held for the plans approval by the library board. After approval, the plan is submitted to the DLGF by November 2. The budget order is issued in the New Year by the DLGF.

The public can see library budgets on the public side of the Budget Gateway found here Click on the link to view local budgets. Then select report, for example, select “Budget Estimate-Financial Statement-Tax Rate.” On this page you make several selections. Choose a county, unit (library) and the name of the unit. You can choose from the fund types available to see the budgets. The report gives the total budget estimate, the tax rate and the tax levy.

The public libraries work as good stewards to safeguard the money, monitor the cash flow, and provide the community with excellent library services.

For more information, view an eight minute video on “Public Library Budgeting in Indiana” found on the webpage This presentation is a budget primer for library staff and patrons.

This blog post was written by Karen Ainslie, Library Development Librarian and Professional Development Office Librarian. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at (317) 232-3697 or email