The 2020-2021 budget — which has no tax increase — was approved unanimously by the APL Board of Trustees on March 10, 2020. Because the budget does not increase the tax levy, the library is not required to put it out for a public vote.
The Library’s Budget Process
The library’s spending plan dictates how we allocate funds across the system of seven branches. We are primarily funded by local taxpayers, but also receive backing from the state and through grants and donations. The library’s leadership regularly reviews the annual budget and long-range financial plan to ensure we are making fiscally responsible decisions that result in operational efficiencies.
Some budget facts:
- The yearly budget is developed in an open process, reviewed in public meetings, and approved by the Board of Trustees. Then, it is presented to the voters.
- The public gets to vote on the library’s tax levy every May (there is no vote if the tax levy does not increase).
- As a local government, Albany Public Library budgets fall under the tax cap regulations established by the NYS comptroller.
- The library’s major operating costs are: salaries and benefits to the library staff; maintenance and operation of seven library buildings; cost of computers and software for public and staff; purchase of books, periodicals, databases, and other borrowable materials; and programming for the community.
- The budget includes supplemental income from state and federal grants, fines and other fees, and contributions from foundations and individuals. The majority of support for the library comes from the annual tax levy.
The library budget supports:
- Use of seven award-winning neighborhood libraries
- Access to a large and diverse collection of books, DVDs, music CDs, audiobooks, magazines, eBooks, and other digital materials
- Public computer use and WiFi access at all locations
- Programs including computer classes, financial workshops, job search assistance, music performances, book reviews, movies, story times, and health and wellness activities for all ages and interests
- Personalized assistance with information and research needs from professional librarians
- Use of community meeting rooms and study rooms
- Use of the Albany History Room that archives valuable historical books, newspapers, photographs, city directories, and census records for genealogy and other research
- 24/7 online access to the collections, databases, and digital books and music