San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 28th, 2011
San Marcos library takes hit in state budget crunch


The San Marcos Public Library, located at 625 East Hopkins Street.


During the next two years, the San Marcos Public Library will receive less state funding, which may spell the end for some services and increase costs to local taxpayers if the city takes up the slack.

State funding for library systems will be “drastically” reduced next year and probably eliminated the following year, said Assistant Director of Community Services Stephanie Langenkamp, who directs the San Marcos Public Library. The public library received $13,000 in Loan Star Libraries grant funding this fiscal year, $16,000 last year, and about $16,000 the year before that, Langenkamp said in March. The Loan Star program sustained cuts of $1.4 million in the current state budget biennium.

The reductions are relatively limited in the context of the library’s $1.2 million-plus annual budget — the state cuts to San Marcos will be measured in tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.  Still, they will have real impacts for portions of the library’s mission traditionally funded through state coffers.

“Our library has received many benefits over the last forty years from our membership in the state-funded Central Texas Library System,” Langenkamp said. “Benefits have included access to film libraries, continuing education and consulting programs, large print book circuits, Spanish language collections, computer services, et cetera.”

Additionally, the state Loan Star Libraries grant has been eliminated for the next two fiscal years, which means the library may have less money to grow its collection, particularly to purchase audiobooks and DVDs.

In March, Langenkamp said the elimination of the Loan Star Libraries grant would reduce the San Marcos Public Library’s collection development funding by about 10 percent. Langenkamp said other possible uses of the funds include computer upgrades and part-time employee positions.

“Our library has enjoyed access to free Texas Summer Reading Club posters, bookmarks, reading logs, reading certificates, et cetera,” Langenkamp said this week. “These will still be funded by the state in FY (fiscal year) 2012, but will likely be eliminated in FY 2013. If this happens, we will need to begin purchasing materials from a private vendor in FY 2013.”

The Texas Legislature reduced funding for the TexShare database program from $8 million to $2.5 million in the next two years. TexShare is a consortium of Texas libraries that share print and electronic materials, purchase online resources, and combine staff expertise. TexShare services are available to patrons of participating libraries in Texas.

Due to decreased state funding, all academic and public libraries in the state will have to pay about 35 percent more in fees to use the TexShare databases, Langenkamp said.

“For our library, we anticipate an increase from our current cost of approximately $1,200 per year to about $1,600 per year.”

Langenkamp said the TexShare cuts  will occur because the legislature reduced funding for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by 64 percent.

“As for the library’s local budget, the city budget is still under review at the administrative level and will be presented to the city council for their review in early August,” Langenkamp said.

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