Library Budget Information

In the fiscal year 2019/2020 budget, I am proposing the following changes for the Library’s budget lines:

  • Reduce OFFICE SUPPLIES line by $1,000, reflecting historical under spending
  • Reduce SUBSCRIPTIONS line by $200, due to cost reductions
  • Reduce AUDIO VIDEO SUPPLIES line (film and audio collections) by $7,200, reflecting historical under spending
  • Increase HOURLY line (staff payroll) by $70,611.49

This increase in payroll hours would allow the library to:

  • Elevate a part-time children’s librarian specializing in services to elementary-aged children from part time (20 hours a week) to full time (37.5), providing the library with consistent coverage for this age of users and allowing for expansion of program offerings to that audience
  • Elevate our Outreach Librarian from 8 hours a week to a full-time position (37.5 hours). This would enable not only an expansion of what our Outreach Services currently are (delivery to our homebound citizens), but would allow the library to fully embrace what an “Outreach Librarian” can be – the conduit through which library services interact with the community outside of our building.  This includes services to our homebound citizens, as well as our schools, local business and other organizations.
  • Add an additional part-time librarian at the front desk to assist with day-to-day frontline, adult and circulation services.
  • Expand access to the Main Library to 6 days a week, putting SPPL where we should be for a library our size, serving a community of our size.
  • Expand access to the Branch Library to 6 days a week, allowing for consistent after school availability throughout the week.
  • Add 10 hours a week for programming and activities within the Main Library building (more story times, more reading groups, more guest speakers, more arts and crafts, etc.)

Existing outside of the Library Department’s budget lines, but important consider are the additional costs related to the proposed changes in library staff positions. Each position breaks down, as follows…

Outreach Librarian:

  • Wages – $37,082.53
  • Social Security – $2,836.89
  • Retirement Contribution – $4,683.03
  • Health Insurance – $20,316.66
  • Long Term Disability – $224.60

Youth Services Assistant:

  • Wages – $21,931.71
  • Social Security – $1,543.56
  • Retirement Contribution – $1,754.54
  • Health Insurance – $20,316.66
  • Long Term Disability – $216.60

Library Aide:

  • Wages – $11,597.25
  • Social Security – $887.19
  • Retirement Contribution – $927.78

  • Total Additional Costs: $124,319.00

  • Total Budget Reductions: $8,400.00

  • Total net request: $115,919.00

Additional Information

According to the 2017 Maine Public Library Statistics, this is how the South Portland Public Library compares to other public libraries in Maine:

  • Population of legal service area: 4th
  • Interlibrary loans provided (to other libraries): 4th
  • Total collection use (checkouts): 5th
  • Registered users: 5th
  • Interlibrary loans received (from other libraries): 6th
  • Total collections expenditures: 8th
  • Total holdings (collections): 9th
  • Total staff expenditures (wages & benefits): 9th
  • Total number of paid employees: 15th
  • Square footage in existing building (Main Library Only): 17th*
  • Public service hours per year (Main Library Only): 36th*

*Only the Main Library is being counted, since that is the City’s only full-service library facility.


Comparing the fiscal year 2008/2009 Approved Budget to the 2018/2019 Approved Budget, the total municipal budget has grown by $7,402,645 or 27%.

Within that budget, the Library Department’s budget has increased by $1,218 or 0%. Most other municipal departments have posted double digit percentage increases over that period of time.

Over that ten year period, the library is circulating more materials, providing more programs and activities, seeing the building used more frequently as a work, social and community space and doing it all with five fewer employees and a total of 72 fewer payroll hours than we had budgeted ten years ago.

The library’s current budget (FY 2018/2019) is $717,689 (2% of the total municipal budget). The median home value in South Portland is currently $200,000. The cost of library services within the South Portland tax bill works out to be just 20.6 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The proposed increase to the library’s budget would increase the library’s share by 2.7 cents per $1,000 of valuation or – for the median home value – a tax increase of less than $6, annually.


As always, I welcome any questions or comments!

Kevin Davis
Library Director