Kassi Glassman (right), of Ash Grove, shows a book she enjoyed reading to employee Emily Reeves on Aug. 3 in the Republic Branch Library. (Photo by Joe Hadsall)

To read this story, please sign in with your email address and password.

You've read all your free stories this month. Subscribe now and unlock unlimited access to our stories, exclusive subscriber content, additional newsletters, invitations to special events, and more.


Librarians and other employees will get the largest of three proposed salary increases under a budget approved by the Springfield-Greene County Library District Board of Trustees. 

Board members, during their regular meeting June 18, considered three versions of a spending plan for the library district's 2024-25 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The three options included varying levels of percentages to be spent on personnel, from 56% to 60%. Trustees asked during an April meeting for the three options to be presented for consideration. 

With a 5-1 vote, the board chose the option that gave employees the biggest available raise. Board President Rachael Morrow cast the “no” vote; board members Christopher Bozarth, Aaron Jones and Melanie Weiler were not present for the meeting.

The balanced budget calls for a little more than $19 million in both expenses and revenues. The option that board members selected includes spending $11.4 million, or 60% of those revenues on salaries. The package includes a 10.1% employee raise across the board and an average step increase of 3.577% for those who qualify. The library has a staff of 225 employees, 106 of whom are full-time. 

Springfield-Greene County Library interim director Jim Schmidt said this budget option helps the library stay competitive with other library district, even if a Missouri-wide effort to raise minimum wage is successful. A group named Missouri Jobs for Justice is working on a petition initiative to raise the hourly rate from $12.30 to $15 by 2026.

“The advantage for this personnel budget is that it gives the library the ability to stay even with minimum wage increases,” Schmidt said. “Even giving options if the state minimum wage is increased by recent petition efforts.”

Operations will account for 25% of the library budget, and materials will take 15%. Collections acquisition was the same amount across all three options — the library plans to spend $2.8 million on materials, such as books, digital books, DVDs, CDs and audiobooks. 

Over the last 10 years, the Springfield-Greene County Library has managed a seesaw between personnel and operations costs, budgeting anywhere from 56% to 60% and adjusting operations accordingly. Personnel costs are expected to increase by around 50% over the next five years, according to projections presented to board members. 

The other two library budget options presented to board members included bigger allocations for future capital improvement projects, stashing anywhere from $343,015 to $697,865 for such projects. 

Joe Hadsall

Joe Hadsall is the education reporter for the Hauxeda. Hadsall has more than two decades of experience reporting in the Ozarks with the Joplin Globe, Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine. Contact him at (417) 837-3671 or jhadsall@hauxeda.com. More by Joe Hadsall