2016-17 was a busy year, with many interesting changes and challenges. The Library finished an extensive renovation project in March 2016, which overlapped two fiscal years. Because of the renovations, there were many operational and physical restraints in not being able to continue a typical level of programming, outreach, or collection work, and we scaled down some spending because of this. Construction is a highly disruptive process, and we are proud that we were able to keep our core circulation services intact and that the library stayed open during such a massive project. We upgraded our HVAC system to an environmentally sustainable geothermal system, altered 2nd/3rd floor service areas, and replaced roofing, plumbing, and wiring, but we were not 100% fully functional on other fronts. That means we weren’t keeping pace with typical spending levels due to these unusual circumstances.
After a successful renovation, my predecessor Ellen Clark announced her retirement. This threw another unexpected variable into the works, in the sense that the Board needed to focus primarily on hiring a new director (me!). That meant that new staff were not hired, big projects were tabled, and new initiatives were not started (such as the strategic planning process), so that the new director would be able to make those critically important decisions. This had the effect of slowing expenditures further until the new director was hired and in place. Now that construction is over and a new director is leading, I can assure you that we are building up our service areas again to pre-construction levels. We are pleased to be able to offer the residents of Wilmette and Kenilworth the outstanding quality of collections, programs, and services that they have voted for. Our library is truly a gem on the North Shore, and we are making decisions to ensure its future sustainability.
The Library has adhered to the best practices of maintaining a healthy reserve fund for building and equipment needs, and we are undergoing a strategic planning process in order to gather input from our community on how best to chart our course for the next three years by identifying future projects and initiatives. Exciting changes on the horizon include: landscaping, signage, space planning, capital needs assessment, community engagement, digital inclusion, literacy development, creative events, cultural experiences, and a participatory and collaborative library for all. We hope you will share your aspirations with us for yourselves, your families, and your community. We’re listening!
Heather McCammond-Watts, Director
Library Funding is less than 5% of your annual tax bill. Non-tax funding includes investment interest, fines, gifts from the Morrow Family Trust, Friends of the Wilmette Public Library, and generous donors throughout the Wilmette community.
To learn more about 2016-2017 fiscal year finances and expenses, please visit the Library budget.