/ Modified apr 9, 2015 6:09 p.m.

No New Books at Pima Libraries Until Budget Resolution

The library stopped the order of new materials in the face of pending budget cuts.

library new books The library suspended new purchases in March, ahead of schedule, to save money.
Mariana Dale, AZPM


Library patrons looking for the latest John Grisham novel or other bestsellers might have a difficult time in the next few months.

Pima County libraries have suspended the purchase of new books, movies, CD’s and other material through the end of the fiscal year in June. It’s an effort to save money before expected cuts in the next county budget.

“We have a healthy budget for books and materials, but we are at a point with the state impacts on the county where we’re not allowed to expend more funds,” said Melinda Cervantes, the library director.

melinda cervantes portrait Melinda Cervantes, executive director of the Pima County Public Library.
Mariana Dale, AZPM

The library would typically stop buying new books for the year in May, but stopped early this year. There are about 1.7 million items in the library’s collection and $5 million of the $35 million budget is typically devoted to purchasing new materials.

A secondary property tax is the primary source of the library’s revenue, but that hasn’t been enough to meet the library’s budget needs.

“Our expenditures exceed our revenues and just like anybody at home with their own savings account and checking account, if you’re spending more than you are receiving, you need to cut back on your spending,” Cervantes said.

The library will consider reducing hours at its 27 locations and buying less new material next year to cut costs.

“As I like to say, there’s never a good day to close a library, and I think that would be a last resort,” Cervantes said.

The library will present during an April 21 budget hearing before the Board of Supervisors.

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