Perhaps you've seen that movie with the well-endowed librarian, her hair up in a bun, and the muscle-bound fellow who comes up to the information desk looking for a book, and she lets her hair down, and then the funky music starts? Bau-chicka-bau.
No? Huh. Because it turns out the San Diego Public Library really wants some well-endowed librarians, but they're having trouble finding anyone to do the endowing. Mayor Jerry Sanders' draft budget maintained spending levels for books, and it kept libraries open for the same number of hours. But with a multilingual city of 1.2 million to serve, library director Anna Tatar wants to find another $2 million for her book budget. To get there, she wants to persuade private donors to fund librarianships and other staff positions in a setup similar to many universities' endowed chairs for their professoriate.
A case in point, Tatar would like someone to fund the administrator of the City Heights Performing Arts Annex, a job currently held by Algae St. Lot. To honor Sanders' belt-tightening mandate, Tatar had thought to end St. Lot's position and have performances and other events booked through the nearby branch library. But the community rallied, and the City Council worked it out with Sanders to reinstate the job.
The budget also includes funding for a pair of technology projects: a system-wide rollout of self-checkout machines like those used at the Serra Mesa branch and a massive database-integration project to streamline access to the library's collections.
But Tatar still dreams of keeping libraries open longer and adding books. The only way she'll find those funds will be through endowed positions. So far, after weeks of private feelers and public ads, no one has opted to make a major contribution.