Friday, February 8, 2002
Library asks funds for Sunday hours
The new Gleason Library building "serves the town well," so well it should be open Sunday afternoons, library trustees and director Ellen Rauch told the FinCom at its January 30 budget hearing. Many townspeople are using the building, circulation continues to rise, and the staff are busy with requests for assistance with the new personal computers, they added.
Recently, a long-range planning effort identified Sunday opening of the library as a priority need for the town. However, costs to do so for three hours from September to June would raise the budget next year nearly $15,000, which would add 3.8% to next year's budget over the 2-1/2% increase allowed in the FinCom guideline.
Facing a gap between expected revenues and requests for increases of over a million dollars, FinCom members are reluctant to encourage more increases. Yet several seemed enthusiastic about the added service. FinCom member Simon Platt suggested this might be the time for a fiscal sleight-of-hand that could reduce costs enough to make the Sunday openings possible.
For several years FinCom has discussed moving the electric and heating costs for the building from the library to the town, even though the town would ultimately save no money on these utility costs. However, the move would cut spending for materials for the library, which must be 20% of the budget appropriation to meet state certification requirements. Thus, moving a projected $26,500 in electric and $10,200 in heat out of the library appropriation would reduce what the library costs the town by another $7,340, or 20 percent of that total of $36,700. This savings could offset at least some of the expense to open Sundays, though Rauch lamented any reduction in spending for books and nonprint materials like DVDs, videotapes and CDs.
FinCom Chair Tony Allison asked Rauch to remove the electric and heat costs and the associated 20% materials costs, to add the costs for Sunday hours, and resubmit the budget to FinCom.
Also requested over the FinCom guideline was $17,000 to pay an additional half-time library assistant to help with children's services and PC operations, some of which is currently provided by volunteers. A staff person could provide more help, Rauch said, especially with PC operations. Trustees cited a need for more story hours for preschoolers, but FinCom were not hopeful that position would be funded.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito