Libraries vs. B & N
The libraries here in Ohio are all in a twist because our mean evil governor is cutting their budget. Out of curiosity, I did a little research on my local library. In my county the libraries operate on a $1.25 million dollar budget per branch (only one of which is actually nice the others are holes in the wall). Apparently, that is not enough to stay open seven days a week. The end of the world is coming and they need an additional $3 million or else, which will bring the operating budget up to $2 million per branch. Sounded like a lot of money to me. For $2 million/year I could make a pretty sweet library.
So I did a little research. How much does it cost Barnes & Noble to run a store? Well they reported a total operating budget of $755.43 million to support 1,354 stores, 1,350 of which are nicer than our best library. $755,430,000/1,354 = a little less than $558,000 per store, significantly less than the $1.25 million it costs for one library branch AFTER the devastating cuts.
Of course, that doesn't include their advertising money, so lets be generous and include that. Including advertising B & N spends $2,115,430,000/1,354 = roughly $1.56 million per store. That is including advertising, salaries, the website, EVERYTHING B&N spent money for operating in 2010.
And my local libraries claim they need $2 million per year per branch? Really? They don't even need to advertise or worry about competing with Amazon. For that kind of money, I should at least get free coffee and donuts when I go in and perhaps a free massage. And the sad part is that my county has one of the smaller operating budgets in the state. I'd hate to see how much they are paying for the public libraries in Columbus or Cincinnati.
My solution? If you use the library, pay a use fee. Make the library keep expenses low so that the fee is acceptable to the people who use it. Why force people who choose not to use its services to pay for it? Especially when it is obvious that someone within the system is wasting money, probably to line their own pockets. If you don't want to do that, just pay me $1.75 million per year and I will make a better library and still have a cool million to line my pockets.