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A Full Service Event Venue for the Central Library

Sacramento Public Library Authority
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Innovation Summary

The Central Library in Sacramento includes an outstanding event venue, the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, that generates over $150,000 per year in net revenue to support services at the Library.

Innovation Leader: Don Tucker, Director of Facilities, dtucker@saclibrary.org

Problem Statement

The Central Library needs budget help to keep its collection current and to manage the challenging population in the downtown urban environment. Generating additional revenue beyond the shrinking allocation from the City's general fund is an annual struggle.


The Library's Tsakopoulos Galleria is attached to the main floor and lobby of Central and can be operated as a stand-alone, full service event venue for paying clients. These clients include weddings, high school proms, corporate gatherings, government meetings as well as Library programs open to the public. One of the challenges was to find a way to make this operation profitable and be able to designate those profits as support for the Central Library.

Innovation

The Galleria was set up as a separate cost center from the rest of the Library. All of the direct operating costs were charged to that center including event planning staff, set up and custodial staff, security staff and on-site staff during the events themselves. Chairs, tables and other event equipment are stored at the Galleria and are designated solely for use in the space. These furnishings are of a generally higher quality and appearance than the typical folding table or classroom chair.


Special event planning software and room diagramming software gives staff the ability to clearly lay out the details of each event. Trained staff on hand during each event helps with last-minute arrangements and technical challenges. The Galleria is marketed through print publications, trade show exhibit booths and word of mouth. All clients sign contract documents that spell out the costs of services and ensure that all liability insurance costs are covered by the client and/or their chosen caterer.


As a result, the Galleria is able to host 569 events last year and generate $157,000 in net revenue for the Library.

Progress

Annual operating expenses for fiscal year 2010/11 were $224,960. Gross revenue from all events was $382,000, resulting in annual net revenue of $157,000. Trends for the 2011/12 are holding about the same.
This money is used to support the collection at Central and to fund a full time social services person that helps homeless and mentally ill patrons connect with local services and with family.


In addition, the Galleria serves as a touchstone for many people in the Sacramento region who might not otherwise visit the downtown Library.