NOLS’ 2023 operating budget steady for collections, staffing levels

Sequim expansion still planned to start sometime next year

Levels for staffing and collections materials remain static for North Olympic Library System’s 2023 operating budget, as library leaders look to cement next steps for the expansion and remodel of the Sequim Library in 2023.

The library system’s trustees unanimously approved a $5.8 million operating budget for next year at their Nov. 17 regular meeting in Port Angeles.

They also voted 5-0 to accept a 1-percent levy rate increase.

A capital budget will be presented at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, in the Port Angeles Library; library staff report that budget is “still in a very early stage of development.”

The operating budget will likely need to be amended in the near future, NOLS executive director Noah Glaude said, as a tentative agreement was reached with two staff bargaining groups last week.

According to budget documents, staff could receive salary increases/changes based on a cost of living adjustment (COLA), a library-led Compensation Study, and/or adjustments to how much NOLS pays towards premiums.

Once agreed upon, an amended budget will be presented to trustees.

NOLS personnel costs (salaries and benefits) are budgeted for $4.3 million in 2023, about 4.75 percent more than 2022. Staffing levels remain at 58 full-time equivalent employees between NOLS’ four branches, according to budget documents.

Library leaders report plans to transfer-in from operating reserves nearly $700,000 for next year’s budget. Staff report they don’t anticipate using the full amount similarly to previous years.

In January, trustees agreed to transfer nearly $800,000 to balance the projected budget, but the library system only used about $10,000, so the remainder will go back into reserves in January 2023, according to library staff. They attribute the discrepancy to some positions remaining vacant and projects not being completed.

Library leaders said they don’t anticipate continuing a trend to transfer from reserves though with staff positions all filled and other variables, they report.

Sequim branch plans

Glaude said on Nov. 17 that library staff are meeting with SHKS Architects to talk about updated building designs and certifications this week for the Sequim Library. Their last presented design adds about 3,000 square feet of space to the building.

Library leaders have secured about $5.1 million toward the $6.1 million needed for the project with staff and volunteers seeking grants and a community campaign group planned to fundraise the remainder.

SHKS and library officials plan to submit building permits to the City of Sequim in January 2023 with construction bids sought in May 2023. Construction would tentatively start in the summer and finish nine to 12 months later, staff previously said.

An as-yet-to-be-determined, temporary space for collections would be used during construction with NOLS budgeting $9,215 for rents and leases in 2023, including the future Sequim space and on the West End to store the bookmobile.

Staff report $31,500 in donations will go towards activities related to the Sequim Library Expansion and Renovation Project, including fundraising, informational print material, and postage to notify residents about project progress, closures and the temporary relocation.

These funds will also support a capital campaign consultant, according to budget documents.

Other notable budget items

• Budgeted collections remain at $480,000 from 2022 as staff write in budget documents they “believe they can continue to develop the collection without an increase in funding in 2023.”

• Friends of the Library groups are anticipated to provide an estimated $77,500 to NOLS, with $40,000 of that paying for speakers and performers — about 92 percent of NOLS’ 2023 budget for programs.

“NOLS truly could not provide this core service without support from the Library’s wonderful and generous Friends of the Library groups,” staff wrote in the budget documents.

• Staff anticipate paying $10,000 for lost and damaged materials in 2023, following a 2019 policy to not charge for overdue materials.

• Staff training and development is budgeted at $37,050 including travel to the American Library Association conference in Chicago, Ill., but because of increased costs the number of staffers traveling will be less.

For more about the Sequim project, visit