Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Library Needs Our Support

As city council moves towards budget passage, we have to balance the need for a vital public library with the needs of taxpayers. The question facing us right now is how we can preserve the library hours.  Although the proposed library budget is the same as in 2018, a new expense of $45,000 has been added in 2019 for training local residents to become certified in Cisco computer network support.  That would mean reducing library hours to make up the difference.  More on Cisco below.  I propose we restore $30,000 to the library budget.

Cisco certification is an opportunity for employment in high paying jobs.  that's certainly an attractive initiative in a city with relatively high unemployment.  But it is not clear how many people actually completed the Cisco training in 2018 and became certified.  Even more important, how many became employed or advanced to training in higher level Cisco certification.

I asked that question and the answer did not shed light on the questions above.  But there is word in the community of a low graduation/certification rate for 2018. If that is untrue there may be justification to continue this program in 2019.  If good outcome data is not provided to City Council, I propose we use 2019 to to put this program on hold and evaluate what happened and whether we can  do anything to get better outcomes in 2020.  That adds another $45,000 to the library budget.

That would also help the library maintain its hours - which is also part of the plan to increase resident access to good jobs through free internet service.

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