Municipal shortfalls are straining the reciprocal-borrowing funding formula for the Milwaukee County Federated Library System to the point that MCFLS President Michael D'Amato has predicted a crippling $650,000 shortfall by 2005.
D'Amato, who is also a member of the Milwaukee city council, has proposed as a five-year fix that the Milwaukee Public Library forego the $1.3 million it currently receives for being the resource library of MCFLS. In exchange, the system's 13 suburban-library members would continue to accept through 2008 whatever fees they received in 2003 from the city library for providing city residents with materials. Noting that several communities bordering Milwaukee have built attractive new facilities, D'Amato said in the December 7 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The city can't afford to spend $5-$8 million to renovate [a library], so people are going to drive the extra mile or two."
"Does it make sense for every library to have a copy of every book?" Wauwatosa resident Marty Vandervelde mused. "It can't be done."
Several months earlier, Rep. Shirley Krug (D-Milwaukee) tried to close the looming budget gap by garnering sponsors for a bill that would allow MCFLS to charge patrons fees to borrow videos, CDs, or DVDs. Expressing appreciation for Krug's efforts "to help the city come …