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State of the Library

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Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm
Fri-Sat 9am-5pm / Sun 1-5pm
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  • Value to the Community
  • Funding

At Bloomington Public Library, we provide value to the community every day.

  • Parents and caregivers help their babies and toddlers gain early literacy skills through weekly lap sits and story times.
  • Children gain skills to help them in school through online homework help from and reading-skill builders such as Summer Reading.
  • Teens learn important social, computer, literacy, and leadership skills through our book clubs, game fests and Project Next Generation activities.
  • Unemployed adults upgrade their job skills, search and apply for jobs through our technology training and utilizing our public access computers
  • Adults participate in our many book clubs, advance their lifelong learning through our books and online resources, and enjoy entertainment from books and movies. Free tax assistance is also available.
  • Our librarians reach out into the community to offer book talks, book clubs, and story times.
  • The Bookmobile makes regular stops throughout the community.
  • Deposit collections are available to area organizations.
  • Volunteers deliver books and other materials to homebound residents.

In fiscal year 2016,

  • 1,392,122 items were borrowed from Bloomington Public Library. The library offers materials in a variety of formats – books, DVDs, CDs, audio books on CD and MP3, downloadable books, etc.
  • 426,195 items made up the Library's physical collection and electronic collection combined.
  • 16,861 people attended a library program.
  • 32,875 Bloomington residents possessed a library card issued at Bloomington Public Library
    • Additionally, 1,386 Golden Prairie Public Library District residents possessed a Bloomington Public Library card.
      Golden Prairie Public Library District contracts with Bloomington Public Library to provide library services to the residents of the following townships: Arrowsmith, Old Town Bloomington, Dale, and Dawson. Residents within the Golden Prairie Public Library District pay property tax to Bloomington Public Library and are eligible to receive Bloomington Public Library cards.
Return on Investment Calculator
Your Use Library Services Average value of Services

The total value for the services you listed above = $

* Your personal return on investment is based on your responses and the typical annual tax contribution for Bloomington Public Library. You see a returned Average value of $ for every one dollar invested.

Values used in the calculations above
Average value of an adult book checked out at a library, including via interlibrary loan = $20
Average value of an adult audio book checked out at a library = $40
Average value of an children's book checked out at a library, including via interlibrary loan = $15
Average value of an children's audio book checked out at a library = $30
Average value of a magazine read at a library = $4
Average value of a movie checked out at a library = $3.50
Average value of a music recording checked out at a library = $12
Average value of a children's program at a library = $5
Average value of a library program, such as a book club, for adults = $8
Average value of a patron spending an hour on a library computer = $12
Average value of a reference question at a library = $3

Adapted from the Library Research Service Return on Investment calculator code.

Our Fund Balance

Just as families save money to pay for college, a new car or home improvements, the Library needs to save money to pay for repair and maintenance of our building and the Bookmobile, to make needed upgrades to our computers and software, and to anticipate and meet the changing needs of our residents as the community changes and grows. The unaudited balance as of the end of FY16 funds is $5,018,343.87. Of that, the majority is already committed.

The Library has three reserve funds:

  • The Maintenance and Operating Fund is used to cover our payroll and material purchases until we receive our tax revenue from McLean County. Financial experts suggest that we keep 25 percent, or three months of the annual budget, in this fund. This fund would also be used to cover unanticipated building or other expenses. The balance as of the end of FY16 is $1,916,773.86.
  • The Fixed Asset Fund is restricted for fixed asset items such as replacement of computers, the Bookmobile, shelving and furniture. The balance as of the end of FY16 is $812,298.81.
  • The Capital Reserve Fund is our "savings account" for the future to pay for much needed expansion of access to the services the Library provides to the community. The balance as of the end of FY16 is $2,289,271.20.
How Can You Help?
  • Join our email or mail list to receive our newsletter.
  • Become an advocate for BPL. Talk to your friends and families about the library and what it offers.
  • Write or call your elected officials and tell them what you value about the Library.
  • Invite the Director or one of our librarians to speak to your service club or organization.
  • Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective tools used to build awareness of and support for the Library.
  • Volunteer to answer our surveys or fill out one of our Please Tell Us forms to tell us what you think and what we can do to serve you better.
  • Donate to the Bloomington Public Library Foundation. The Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization with tax exempt status under Section 501(C )(3) of the IRS code. Its sole purpose is to raise and invest funds for the improvement of the Library.
"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." - Anne Herbert, The Next Whole Earth Catalog
*Photography: You may see library staff taking photographs during library programs. These photographs may be used in both print and digital promotional material.
If you'd like to keep yourself or your child from appearing in these promotions, please make our photographer aware of your wishes.