HONORABLE MAYOR AND
September 30, 2003
Council District: Citywide
SUBJECT: ACCEPTANCE OF THE REPORTS ON THE LIBRARY BENEFIT ASSESSMENT DISTRICT AND THE LIBRARY ANNUAL USAGE REPORT.
REASON FOR ADDENDUM
Mayor and City Council require information at this time about the status of the Library Benefit Assessment District in order to give the Administration direction regarding planning for replacing the District with a continuing dedicated source of supplemental funding for the library.
That the City Council accepts the following reports at the October 7 Council meeting:
· Fiscal Year 2002/2003 Report on Library Usage: This is intended to update the Council on the level of public service performed by the San Jose Public Library.
· Review of FY 02/03 Benefit Assessment Expenditures: The Library Commission reviews an annual review of the expenditures of the Benefit Assessment District from Library Benefit Assessment District Oversight Committee to ensure accountability for the use of Library Benefit Assessment District revenues.
The Library Benefit Assessment District poses grave concerns for the funding stability of the Library and its many valued and popular programs.
This report covers Fiscal Year 2002-03 and reviews the activities of the Library Department. The report is prepared annually for presentation to the City Council.
San Jose Public Library’s FY 2002-03 can be described this year by one word, IMPRESSIVE!!
From the New Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, to nationwide recognition of the acclaimed Innovative Library Service Model, to Library Bond projects throughout the City (beginning and nearing completion), San Jose Public Library has much to be proud of for its many accomplishments during the year. The City’s libraries continue to maintain and improve services by responding quickly and effectively to the needs of the community. The customers in turn have responded with an explosive surge in activity that has been seen at all branches and is positively reflected in record statistics that surpass even the previous year’s high water marks.
The City’s libraries are incredibly busy. In 2002-03, the number of items borrowed rose by 16% over items borrowed in FY 2001-02. In the past two fiscal years alone, circulation has increased by 43%. (See Attachment C: Circulation by Branch). The system-wide circulation is 180% higher than 1994/95, the year prior to Benefit Assessment District funding. (See Attachment A: Annual Service Level and Usage). It is readily apparent that residents continue to enjoy and have come to expect updated collections, new technology, innovative programming, and continued improvements to existing facilities.
Overall circulation for the year totaled a remarkable 13,491,212 items loaned, making San Jose Public Library one of the busiest large urban libraries in the country. During FY 2002-03 the Library system exceed the one million item mark in circulation each and every month. Three branches were near or over the one million items loaned per year mark. The Santa Teresa branch circulated well over one million items and two other branches, Evergreen and Calabazas, hovered right at the million mark for items loaned during the year.
Much of the increased library usage is directly attributed to the substantial infusion of new books and media purchased with Benefit Assessment District funds. 316,674 new items were added to the library collection in 2002-03. In contrast, only 137,131 new items were acquired in the base year of 1994-95. (See Attachment D: Number of New Items Received). The Benefit Assessment District will sunset in fiscal year 2004-05, threatening the continued funding for a substantial portion of the budget for circulation, language materials, and other services at the current levels. Funding from the Assessment District constitutes 12% of the total Library department operating budget in 2002-2003. Approximately two-thirds of the Library’s materials budget in Fiscal Year 02-03 came from the Benefit Assessment District funds.
San Jose Public Library continues to be gratified by customer use and surprised by this sustained growth in circulation but at the same time very concerned that while the Library has seen a 180% increase in items borrowed over the last eight years, staffing has increased by only 25%. Assessment District funding has been the primary funding source for this additional staffing. Without these supporting or similar funds, San Jose Public Library will find it difficult to maintain the level of service the community has grown accustomed to expect. (See Attachment B: Circulation and Staffing Increases).
Usage of materials at San Jose’s public libraries has climbed steadily since implementation of the Assessment District. A total of over $19 million has been spent since 1995 acquiring new materials with Assessment District funds, tripling the annual budget available for purchase of new and replacement materials since the inception of Assessment District funds. As a result, residents have many more and very current materials to choose from including popular best sellers, compact discs, audiotapes, VHS and DVD media, and CD-ROMs for children. The library’s staff carefully selects materials that produce a mix of format, reading level, language and content that meets the interests of users.
Installation of high-speed data lines and Internet access has revolutionized how the library does business. Residents now have 24/7 access to the online catalog and other online services through the library’s eBranch website. It is possible to place a request for an item located anywhere in the San Jose Public Library system and have it delivered to the branch of your choice (requests have risen dramatically from 376,042 in 2000-01 to 1,119,060 in 2002-03, an increase of 198% in the past two years). Online renewals jumped from 774,018 in 2000-01 to 1,754,764 in 2002-03, a 126% increase since the end of fiscal year 00-01. Library users can also download an electronic book, ask for and receive a librarian’s information retrieval expertise or conduct a subject search of a database containing thousands of articles published in magazines and newspapers over the past 15 years. Fulfillment of information needs is no longer restricted by library hours.
The number of visits to the eBranch site has continued to climb with a 2002-03 year-end total of 2,425,374 visits to the site. This is a 565% increase over total visits to the eBranch site (364,467) in FY 2000-01.
Even with this huge increase in use, the library continues to provide excellent customer service, as demonstrated in a recent systemwide user survey. 91% of customers surveyed rated the quality of library services Excellent or Very Good and a combined total of 98.5% rated the quality of library services satisfactory or above.
Many years of planning and several years of construction culminated on August 1, 2003 when the new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library first opened its doors to the public. This one of a kind institution was successfully completed on time and on budget. The high profile assignments that were accomplished included: staff actively put the final touches on defining the organizational structure; teams were involved in selecting, planning, and implementing technology and the new integrated automated system; and everyone participated in planning and organizing the layout and physical move into the new building.
An example of the complexity of joining these two distinct entities can be seen in the number of policies that were recommended and accepted by the five Operational Strategic teams and 82 sub teams and committees. There are over 300 policies that describe how the new library will run and operate posted on the Web for all to see.
None of this would have taken place without the participation and cooperation of both institutions. Staff from the public and academic libraries were included throughout the project planning and implementation phases and all staff were given the opportunity to tour the building while still in its construction phase. Perhaps the most challenging task was merging like units in both libraries into one organized and functioning body. Consultants, human resources departments, employee relations departments, collective bargaining units from the City and University, supervisory personnel, and Library Administration contributed heavily to shaping the structure of four key units throughout FY 2002-03. Circulation Services, Reference, Technical Services, and IT units in both the San Jose Public Library and their counterparts at San Jose State University have now been integrated and are successfully operating and working together.
The new King Library is a state of the art facility with state of the art technology. PC’s are easily accessible and located conveniently throughout the building in public areas, Technology and training rooms, and the Information Commons. There is even a Laptop lab for use by the University and its students. Meeting rooms are equipped with media players that can play presentations in VHS, DVD, and PC formats and visual conference calling is available in selected rooms. With assistance from a group of consultants, decisions were made on the selection of a network, the use of Active Directory, a phone system and methods to merge the City and University IT departments during FY 2002-03.
Moving a collection and staff the size of San Jose Public Library into the new facility was indeed a challenge. Coordinators at all levels were appointed and began planning a move of over 400,000 items, as well as personnel and their belongings. Included in the process was where the collection would be located and whether it was to be integrated with the University collection. Activities worked up to a feverish pitch toward the end of FY 2002-03 in preparation for the massive July, 2003 move.
This year, San Jose Public Library’s Innovative Library Service Model has been recognized for its vision, foresight, and revolutionary ideas by libraries locally and nationwide. San Jose has developed a winning model that has been shared at consulting visits, workshops, and public library conferences, and has been received with much enthusiasm and excitement from Library staff questioning the traditional methods of providing library service.
Multnomah County Public Library in Portland, Oregon, libraries in Austin and Houston, Texas, Brooklyn and Queens Borough, New York and local libraries from Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, Oakland, Alameda and others in the Bay Area have visited and learned from us and come away impressed and appreciative of San Jose Public Library’s willingness to think outside the box, and apply fresh ideas, creativity, and innovation.
Over the past year the ILSM service model has been implemented and major remodels have been completed at the Calabazas, East Branch, Cambrian, and Seventrees branches. The ILSM model has also become the driving force behind the planning and design of all future branches. Calabazas was the first branch to be remodeled using the ILSM blueprint for success. A market place was designed and built to display high turnover items such as new books, videos, DVD’s, and Booktapes. Self-checkout machines were prominently placed for easy access and vending machines were located for customer convenience. Collections were moved, displays were set up, and staff began to move from the workroom to the floor providing more children’s programming, technology training, and roving help. Customers responded positively to the new “bookstore look” and circulation of materials rose immediately. Almost 90,000 items were checked out in June 2003, roughly a 50% increase from June of 2002.
A survey conducted by Godbe Research showed that 91% of customers approved of San Jose Public Library’s self-serve strategies. After an extended period of training and educating borrowers in the use of self checkout machines, the Library now proudly boasts that over 85% of all transactions are self-directed through technology in the branch or at home, freeing library staff to give more value-added service.
Work on the Library bond projects was well underway in FY 2002-03. Three branches (Vineland, Berryessa, and Tully Road) were under construction and five branches (Alum Rock, Rose Garden, Evergreen, Hillview, and the Almaden Library/Community Center) were in the design stage. The lease agreement relocating the Hillview Branch to Fischer Middle School was approved by the Alum Rock School District and an application for potential state grant funding was submitted for the Rose Garden Branch in March 2003. Grant awards were delayed by the California State Library to October 2003.
Staff and consultants completed system-wide standards for interior design, fixtures, furnishings, equipment, and interior and exterior signage. These standards are being used in the design of all new facilities.
To delay future fiscal years’ operating and maintenance costs, the construction schedules for the Alum Rock and Berryessa library projects were deferred by one quarter. The design and construction of the Joyce Ellington branch was accelerated one quarter to temporarily provide staff and collections for the new Alum Rock branch.
Focus on site selection and acquisition continued for the two new branches and one existing branch still needing sites. Public Works and Library staff worked closely with Council members and their district constituents, the Redevelopment Agency, SNI districts, various school districts, and other community groups and organizations to identify appropriate sites. Negotiations for a site for the West Side branch began, and several sites are still under consideration for the Cambrian and Southeast (from Evergreen) branches.
Community input into the location, design, and construction of the branch libraries continues to be an essential part of the program. Each branch project has a minimum of four community meetings regarding the building program, conceptual design, schematic design, and public art.
Fiscal year 2002-03 saw the completion of the replacement West Valley branch, which opened in late February. Tripling the size of the previous building to 20,000 square feet and featuring silent and group study rooms, a technology room, storytime area, and a community room, the community embraced the new building. West Valley branch has seen a dramatic 50% increase in gate count as well as a 30% increase in circulation. In FY 2003-04 the Library Department and customers are eagerly anticipating the opening of the new Vineland branch in February 2004.
San Jose Public Library continues to benefit greatly from Assessment District funding. Approximately two-thirds of the materials budget and more than 10% of budgeted positions are funded by these supplemental monies. In addition, almost all the public and staff PC’s, including the 27 new express check machines purchased this year, and supporting software and networks have been paid for by BAD funds.
This year 316,674 new items were added to the collection and 39.1 library positions were funded through the Assessment District. A number of programs established with Assessment District funds have continued to grow and flourish. Among them: Teens Reach (a teen volunteer and advisory program) is now in 16 branches with over 400 members, an increase in membership of 700% since its inception in 2001. Books for Little Hands is now in approximately 300 child care sites serving over 6000 children. The InfoBus reached close to 3,000 customers during the 2002-03 fiscal year and appeared at various community events throughout the year. The LEARNS after school enrichment program focused on six schools this year reaching over 2300 students through programs that offered songs, stories, and crafts.
A good portion of San Jose Public Library’s success can be directly associated to Assessment District funding which expires in 2004-05. To maintain the exemplary service that customers expect and appreciate, similar funding must be secured.
Using the most current data reported in the California State Library Survey to compare San Jose Public Library to other large California municipal libraries and to the Santa Clara County Library (serving most of the smaller cities surrounding San Jose), San Jose lags noticeably in several major and critical categories. San Jose has a very low operating budget expended per capita, low library holdings per capita, and higher numbers of residents served per capita by FTE staff.
San Jose does have a very high circulation per capita which is a reflection on how heavily the libraries are used. With 18 locations and a FTE (full time equivalent) staff of 359.63, the San Jose population has one FTE staff for every 2,552 residents. Though San Jose’s circulation continues to climb to new levels each year, budget expenditures, library holding per capita, and staffing levels remain below that of the other large California municipal libraries. (See attachment E: Library Comparison).
Based on a review of the above information, San Jose Public Library services and facilities continue to grow. System-wide circulation has increased 180% since 1994-95 and reached a record setting high of 13,491,211 items borrowed. Customer satisfaction remains very high. With the Internet becoming more accessible to everyone, the library’s eBranch has become a huge success and gives patrons a new way to visit the library. The Innovative Library Services Model enhances library services by making library services easier to use, providing more reading activities, and marketing materials for easy access by customers. Branch facility improvements continue and the New Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and replacement West Valley Branch libraries opened to the delight of San Jose residents.
However, San Jose continues to lag behind other large municipal libraries in California in terms of staffing levels and operating expenditures per capita. Without a replacement for the expiring Assessment District Funding, the library will face severe cuts to its staff and drastic reduction to its books and automations budgets. The efforts of the library’s dedicated staff have maintained a high level of services and customer satisfaction during this long period of rapid growth in use of the library.
Library Director, Library Department