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Halikias: Where nonfiction meets budget reality

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 4:23 p.m. CDT
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Sharon Halikias

There has been a good deal of talk about budgets and spending lately as America works to restore its economy.

As a unit of local government supported by tax dollars, Lisle Library District is proud of its stewardship of public funds. We direct our resources very prudently and effectively by making smart investments, saving for emergencies and laying the groundwork for future growth while maintaining quality services, materials and the latest technology. 

The library is very fortunate to have a Board of Trustees who have been careful stewards of the library's resources. Our independent audit for the fiscal year ending June 30 verified that the library's assets exceed its liabilities. Investment income increased by 28.5 percent. And through a well-executed planning process, we were $462,509 under the actual projected budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which ended June 30.

This same careful planning allowed us to craft the library’s 2013-14 budget, which is a working document. It can be tricky to estimate 16 months in advance whether the cost of supplies may increase or what unexpected repairs the building may require. But the staff and board have done very well with our estimations over the past year. The library very consciously strives to work within our available dollars and keep costs contained. 

The board's Finance Committee meets monthly to review the performance of our finances and make recommendations as appropriate to the full Board of Trustees. The committee also maintains close contact with our professional financial advisor to discuss best practices, current trends and market projections.

Careful attention to changing needs enabled the board to revise the Investment Policy in order to better protect public funds while providing for the best returns possible.   

As an employer, Lisle Library also has an obligation to pay equitable wages, provide ongoing professional development and maintain an environment where people want to work.

Good human resources practices are no different for public versus private employees as people in a workplace want to be challenged, motivated and appreciated. In fact, following human resources best practices is even more important to the library because a motivated and productive staff directly impacts our patron satisfaction. 

There will always be a variety opinions about what the library, or any institution, should spend and how. We embrace this diversity and encourage those who have questions, concerns or new ideas to attend our board meetings on the second Wednesday of every month.

You may also contact me or the board to meet in person to discuss options that are in the best interest of our community, respectfully and constructively. Our annual audits and budget are available online at lislelibrary.org. We encourage the community to review these to obtain accurate information about the library's finances.

Shannon Halikias is the Executive Director of the Lisle Library District and can be reached via email at shannon@lislelibrary.org.

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