Why isn’t the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s budget like other public libraries’ budgets?

I’d like to respond to some questions comparing this Library’s budget to other public libraries’ budgets in Kansas. First, not all public libraries are the same. Governance, services offered, service levels, population served, number of registered library users, types and means of service deployment, size of collections, circulation and many other characteristics vary enormously. The degree to which communities choose to use and support their libraries varies too.  And Kansas public libraries are no exception.

Unless those variables are taken into account, comparisons aren’t really meaningful. Here’s just one example. Most public libraries in Kansas and in the United States are part of larger units of government. They may be part of a city, county or even a larger unit of service. With respect to their budgets, this means that costs for certain activities ranging from facilities maintenance, utilities, administrative services (like human resources), financial and accounting services, vehicles, capitial improvements, etc aren’t included in the library’s overall budget figures because those services are provided by the city, county, etc. The Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library is a separate entity from city or county government. All activities needed to manage a public library and provide services to the community are reflected in the budget figures you see on our Digital Branch.

Stay tuned for more information on why we will begin charging library users a late fees for overdue books and other library materials…….