Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Status Report on Wisconsin's Public Libraries (Part 2: Where Does the Money Come From?)

Pie Graph 1

Pie graph 1 is based on statistics found in table 18 (Total operating revenue of public libraries and percentage distribution of revenue, by source of revenue and state) in Public Library Survey Fiscal Year 2009, published online by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

A few things to be aware of:

  • Unfortunately, IMLS does not differentiate between "local" and "county" funding.  It's all lumped together as "local".
  • IMLS does not include all state funding, only those dollars that go directly to public libraries.  In Wisconsin, for example, this includes system resource library payments and grants to libraries for summer library program performers.
  • IMLS defines "other" to include gifts, donations, interest income, fines, fees, and grants.
  • 2009 is the most recent year for which national library statistics are available.

Here' the latest version of the state pie, based on statistics from the 2010 Wisconsin Public Library Service Data.

Pie Graph 2

Even with the difference in how state funding is reported, the percentages are very close.  84.2 % "local" funding at the national level; a combined 82% municipal and county funding in Wisconsin.   Wisconsin is slightly below the average for state funding.

The next 2 pie graphs show the shifting percentages that have taken place since 1990.

Pie Graph 3 

In 10 years, the share of county appropriations increased from 20% to 23.%, while the municipal shared decreased to 59% from 60%.  The share of state funding decreased to 7% from 10%.  (Raise your hand if this outcome surprises you.)

Pie Graph 4

Over a 20-year period, we have seen counties' share of library funding increase from 17.5% in 1990 to 23% in 2010.  And not without a couple of legislative boost to insure that libraries receive more equitable payments for providing services to nonresidents.  (The inequity is illustrated in the following table and graph.)

Wisconsin Public Libraries
Resident Per Capita Support, 1990-2010

In 1998, Act 150 required that counties pay each public library in the county at least 70 percent of the cost of library services provided to residents of the county that do not maintain a public library.  (Add Milwaukee County exemption here.)

In 2006, Act 420 extended to adjacent counties the requirement that counties reimburse public libraries for the cost of serving county residents who live in areas of the county without public library service.  (Add Milwaukee County exemption here.)

What follows are 4 graphs and tables that summarize public library revenue for the years 1990 to 2010.

Wisconsin Public Library Revenue by Source*, 1990-2010 (Dollars by Category)
Source:  Wisconsin Public Library Service Data

*Not included:  Federal revenue and contract income, which generally represent about 1.0-1.5% of total revenues.

Wisconsin Public Library Revenue by Source, 1990-2010 (Percentages by Category)

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