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From the Director: Budgeting for the Future 2022

From the Director: Budgeting for the Future 2022

May 19, 2022

For the past twenty years, when spring comes, I can count on several things.  As flowers return and leaves emerge from tree branches, I’m going to struggle with my seasonal allergies.  Spring also means that I will be exceptionally optimistic about the chances for the Kansas City Royals and, except for a couple of years, my hopes will be dashed quickly.  It also means that the Library will be ending one budget year and preparing for a new one.

For the twenty budgets that I’ve helped to prepare for Mid-Continent Public Library, I really think this year’s exercise was the most challenging.  It really does seem that every year will hold some new wrinkle.  Whether it was revenue hurdles following the Great Recession or the once-in-a-generation inflation that we are experiencing this year, the challenge always seems to be unique. 

Along with inflationary pressure, a new complication of this spring is that MCPL is only now starting to get to a time and a place where we might have a baseline for activity.  The pandemic has greatly influenced how people were able to use their libraries over the past two years. The two years before that, MCPL had several libraries out of commission as we remodeled and reimagined our libraries.  One really must go back to 2016 or 2017 to find a full year of “normal” library use.  Going back that far makes comparisons with a different library from what we have now.  We didn’t have community rooms, drive up windows and curbside service, mobile & remote printing, or Wi-fi-to-go (for example). The big challenge to creating a budget this year is trying to figure out what “normal” looks like.

The Library staff provided a draft budget proposal to the Library Board at the May Board Meeting.  Between now and the June 21 Board Meeting, people will be looking at the budget and asking questions about the Library’s financial future – that includes you!  There should be copies of the proposed budget at any of the MCPL locations or you can view it online.  There will also be a public hearing at North Independence at 10 a.m. on June 10 to hear comments about the proposed levy rate and the 2022-23 Budget.   

As I mentioned, I’ve been helping to draft these budgets for twenty years. It is a little sentimental to know that this will my last budget draft at MCPL.  Although challenging in ways I could not anticipate a year ago, I think this budget will provide the guidance for the Library to provide the best library experience in the nation.

Steven V. Potter
Library Director and CEO


The library continues to be the democratic and civilizing institution in our community.
Thank you Mr, Potter and your staff for your efforts in making your agency so important in our lives.

From Steve (not verified)
Sun, 05/22/2022 - 01:29pm

Could not say it better! Hope to see many at June's vital meetings.

From Jim O (not verified)
Thu, 06/09/2022 - 11:45am

I saw an article in the Kansas City where I the library could close and lay-off staff if a budget isn’t approved. I hope this isn’t true because I love our library and the staff.

From Lynn (not verified)
Mon, 06/06/2022 - 11:07am

When the Radical "Q" believing Zealots are appointed to the Library,School and Election boards, this is what happens.
Maybe it's time for Jackson County to stand alone on their Libraries and Let the "Q" loving counties to fend for themselves.

From Don White (not verified)
Tue, 06/14/2022 - 08:31am

Thank you for making MCPL what it is today. I don't blame you for retiring considering some of the Board of Trustees with whom you must co-exist. Will you direct me to where in the library I may find information on "how to oust MCPL trustees"?

From Vicky (not verified)
Wed, 06/08/2022 - 10:11pm

I have heard the board does not want to approve this budget, not because of inflation, but because of their own personal and political issues and agendas. They don't want to support equity & inclusion. The board should be ashamed, trying to take away part of these communities resources, so many count on.

From Elisa Neilson (not verified)
Thu, 06/09/2022 - 02:14am

Unfortunately, this is what happens when the Board of Trustees members are elected by the County Commissioners who likely don't know anything about libraries. MCPL needs to revise the way Board of Trustees members are elected, and members need to support the ALA. This is a wonderful library system and it would be such a shame if a few Board members ruined it for everyone.

From Chelsea (not verified)
Thu, 06/09/2022 - 02:59pm

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