LOWELL | It has been 13 years since the Lowell Public Library's budget has seen an increase, and this year is no exception.
The good news, Lowell Library Director Gene Pidzarko recently told the library board, is the 2013 certified budget numbers will not force the elimination of critical services or result in staff layoffs.
However, the planned purchase of several Apple computers will be delayed, Pidzarko said.
"The Mac computers would help us to better align and complement Lowell library services with the recent decision by the Tri-Creek School Corp. to provide Macs for their students," Pidzarko said.
When school is closed, parents and their students would benefit from the familiar platform at their local library.
"How many households today are still without a PC, or can afford the luxury of owning both a PC and a Mac?," Pidzarko asked.
Pidzarko said an increasing number of library patrons are asking for technical help with downloading and using e-book readers, but the planned purchase of e-book readers will be delayed due to the budget. Popular e-books and music downloads already are offered, he said.
Changing technologies are forcing library leaders to examine what materials best fit the needs of their own communities, Pidzarko said.
The board's decision to buy the new integrated library computer system, Polaris, means that system reports now thoroughly analyze circulation data and show trend analysis, growth rates and distributions.
Pidzarko said this is a valuable tool to be able to meet the community's needs. Learning borrowing patterns will help determine the selection of materials to be added to the library's collections.
Also, Polaris' enhanced reporting capabilities has eliminated manual circulation counts. That frees up staff to better serve patrons, Pidzarko said.
In discussing a state annual report earlier this year, Pidzarko said the Lowell Public Library far exceeds minimum programming requirements.
For that reason, program offerings are being re-examined with an eye toward enhanced quality rather than quantity.