The Allen County Public Library's renovation and expansion project has gotten a little negative publicity -- there was a slight cost overrun ($560,000 on the $65.4 million project, less than 1 percent), and Director Jeff Krull took some heat over the expensive new chairs that were ordered. Compare that to what's going on in Indianapolis. A story in the Star today notes that the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's $103 million project has had a 40 percent overrun. And that's not all the bad news:
They've had to cut spending 2 percent already, but board members at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library decided to trim even more to give CEO Linda Mielke a raise.The 4 percent salary increase approved this month will bring her annual pay to nearly $122,000. Board President Louis Mahern said Mielke is worth at least that much, but it will take cutting library services to pay for the increase.[. . .]Most other library staffers received a 2 percent raise Jan. 1, but a second increase of 2 percent scheduled for July has been dropped.Financial worries have dogged the organization since the library took on a massive expansion of Downtown's Central Library. The City-County Council froze the library's budget this year after there were cost overruns of more than 40 percent on the $103 million project.The budget freeze at $36 million effectively reduced the library's operational spending by about 2 percent. To make up the loss of $1.5 million, the library shelved construction of two suburban branches, dropped outreach services such as a bookmobile for seniors and trimmed health coverage of retired staffers.Officials also increased fines for overdue books from 10 cents a day to 25 cents and hired a collection agency to more aggressively pursue debts in an effort to increase circulation and revenue.