The Rasmuson Foundation has awarded the Homer Public Library a $23,691 grant to buy books and materials. Library Director, Ann Dixon, who wrote the grant, says it was good news.
“It was very good news because otherwise it was going to be looking very grim. There would be subscriptions to magazines and databases that we would have had to cancel and just a whole lot of books that we wouldn’t be able to buy,” said Dixon.
The Homer Public Library serves the communities of the Southern Kenai Peninsula, from Ninilchik south. In 2006, the library moved into a 17,000 square foot facility with a public meeting room, four study rooms, 19 public use computers and wireless access. The library’s collection includes over 45,000 items.
The library is a department of the City of Homer and the library's basic operations are funded through the city's general fund. The city recently cut the library’s budget, explains Dixon.
“Our biggest cut was to the book budget – that was a $20,000 cut there, that was 42 percent. And also, periodicals, a $1,500 cut. And audio/visual, which is DVD’s and audio books, that was cut by $3,000. So that’s a 17 percent cut. And there are some cuts other places, but those were the biggest chunks,” said Dixon.
Dixon says she highlighted the unique needs of the Homer Public Library in the grant application.
“We serve a really wide community, all the way from Ninilchik to across the bay and South to Kachemak Selo and [we're] very diverse in what their interests are. You know, Rasmuson helped build the library too. So, it’s kind of a case of you know, we’ve built this wonderful building and people are using the heck out of it and we also need the books," said Dixon.
Books, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers and videos. In 2015, Dixon says the library checked out 142,284 items. Up from around 104,000, five years before. Dixon says the number of people checking out books from the library has gone up around 46 percent since 2008.
Dixon says the grant solves the budget shortfall this year, but she worries what might happen if there are more cuts next year. This is the fourth grant that the Rasmuson Foundation has awarded the Homer Public Library.