How many library books did we buy?

To keep our 4‑year-old interested in his bedtime story routine, we borrow a lot of books from our local library. Our pattern for a while now has been to check out a dozen or so books every few weeks. That’s a lot of books, and being the analytical type, I started to wonder what our fair share would be — how many books represent our share of the library’s book purchases.

According to the Hamilton East Public Library’s 2009 annual report, here is where the library’s revenue comes from:

Property Tax                           $5,130,689  (55%)
County Option Income Tax               $3,469,910  (38%)
Financial Institutions and Excise Tax  $  254,505  ( 3%)
Fines, Fees, and Other Revenue         $  359,532  ( 4%)
Total                                  $9,214,636

So, property and income taxes account for 93% of the library’s revenue. I’m not sure what the “financial institutions and excise tax” item is, but I know exactly what our property and county income tax are. I will admit to paying a 25¢ fine recently for a book that was one day overdue. The librarian commented that it was the smallest fine that she had ever processed. I’ll just leave that fine out of the mix and trust that I’ll get to within 95% of the bottom line. Let’s look at how much the library gets from our property and county income taxes.

Property tax. According to the Hamilton County Auditor’s 2010 tax rate notice, Fishers residents pay 0.0615% of assessed property value into the library system. The Assessor’s office makes it easy to look up any property’s assessed value.

Income tax. The State of Indiana 2010 County Option Income Tax Distribution Report shows that Hamilton East Public Library gets $3,216,968 of the $99,862,358 tax dollars distributed, or about 3.2%. So, 3.2% of Hamilton County residents’ 1% county income tax goes to the library system.

From that, it’s very straightforward to see how much money you send to the library every year. Just check the Assessor’s website and your paystub. Multiply your assessment by 0.000615 and your county income tax by 0.032. How far does it go?

Referring again to the library’s annual report, here is where the library spends its money:

Salaries and Benefits                   $4,268,937  (50%)
Mortgage                                $2,443,293  (28%)
Utilities, Supplies and Other Expenses  $1,195,860  (14%)
Books, Materials, and Equipment         $  723,124  ( 8%)
Total                                   $8,631,214

Curious that the library spends just 8% of its budget on buying books. At any rate, 8% of the taxes we pay into the library goes to buying books.

In our case, that’s less than $7, or one copy of Cowboy & Octopus.

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