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The Source: Who Should Pay For The San Antonio Library?

City of San Antonio

The San Antonio Public Library and the city are hoping to get more funds from Bexar County to run its public library system -- a lot more money. SAPL would like the county to pay $6.38 million, which is nearly double the $3.78 million the county already contributes.

Part of their rationale is that the county makes up 19% of SAPL users, but less than that percent of the funds.

The county, which started its Bibliotech all-digital library last year and has been expanding the reach of that service, questions why it should be contributing more to the system when it sees itself as picking up the slack in underserved areas.

Last year a $50 million shortfall in the municipal budget trickled down to the library with some of the following cuts proposed: closing the libraries one  day a week, eliminating the book mobiles and cutting the hours of the Texana and genealogy department by 50%. This proved unpopular.

The city was able to mitigate the cuts and keep the library open seven days a week and Texana at full strength through 2014 but book mobiles have been parked.

Some council members have indicated that the city isn't above cutting access to the county's estimated 400,000 non-city users of the library in a "worst-case scenario."

Tomorrow, SAPL's board of trustees meets to discuss among other things what to do about Bexar county's funding.

Who should foot the bill for the San Antonio Public Library?


  • Ramiro Salazar, San Antonio Public Library director.
  • **We did reach out to Bexar County, but due to scheduling conflicts they were unable to appear.

Bexar County letter to city of San Antonio regarding funding for the library (2014)

*This is the third segment in the August 26 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM. Audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive