Books and budgets

This is the second half of the fourth story in a five-part series on local public officials' salaries.
Alex Doty
Jan 2, 2014

No one plans to be a librarian because of the salary.

They go into it for the love of the written language, to help provide resources to others, or they simply crave knowledge. Any way you stack it, public employees at local libraries are there for the people, not the paycheck.

On average, a library worker makes about $18,256, with library directors bringing in an average of $63,382.

There are many challenges to the job, and among the greatest are technology and funding.

We asked the two directors of our two major public libraries to share their perspectives on library successes and challenges.

John Martin of the Loutit District Library in Grand Haven and Claire Sheridan of the Spring Lake District Library each answered 10 questions. Here's what they had to say:

Q: What's the biggest challenge you face at the library?

Martin: “The No. 1 challenge is meeting the public’s demand for technology and innovation.”
Sheridan: “Continuing to adapt library services to the societal change in the way people get information and communicate in the digital world.” 

Q: What are the issues that keep you up at night?

Martin: “Coming up with the dollars that improve the services or materials people are looking for in order to meet the public’s demand.”
Sheridan: “The impact of loss of funding from the repeal of personal property tax is a concern.”

Q: What are some things the library is planning to do in the next few years?

(1) Celebrating 100 years of library service in Grand Haven in 2014
(2) Developing a business resource center
(3) Working and collaborating with other businesses and non-profit organizations

(1) Continue adding digital content to the library collection
(2) Continuing to reach out to the community through social media as well as print channels
(3) Coordinate lifelong educational opportunities through collaboration with the Tri-Cities Museum, the Chamber of Commerce, the school system in Spring Lake and local businesses

Q: What changes have you noticed in demands for service in recent years?

Martin: “We’ve seen a big uptick in usage for our local history and genealogy room.”
Sheridan: “We are noticing that people are staying for longer periods of time using the digital resources of the library. The staff has noticed increasing use of e-books, e-audio books and other digital resources such as Consumer Reports Online, Mango Languages and Morningstar, all of which can be accessed from outside the library with a Spring Lake library card. E-book use through Overdrive has tripled since 2010.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


Former Grandhavenite

"On average, a library worker makes about $18,256"

This is mind-blowing. Homeless people in a lot of areas make more than that. Even in the Tri-Cities you can't really live on $18k unless you're eating Ramen every meal and living in a shack. These people are true public servants and basically volunteers collecting a small stipend. They deserve our thanks. Actually they deserve a lot more than that, but at the very least they deserve our thanks and appreciation.

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