Flower Library seeks district vote for $75K funding

The Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Flower Library officials want to get permission from city school district taxpayers to spend $75,000 next year for new materials.

Library officials are seeking support to put the $75,000 in appropriations on the ballot for next spring’s budget vote.

They made a presentation to City Council members on Monday night, saying that the city has decreased funding for materials from about $65,000 in 2009 to $13,000 in the current budget.

Carolyn D. Weldon, the president of the library’s Board of Trustees, said the library has not been able to keep up with the purchase of new books and other materials, blaming the decreases from the city.

“Sadly, what is a library without new books?” she said.

Less than 1 percent of the library budget of $1.5 million goes to new materials. Last year, the library conducted a survey with more than 400 respondents that found that people want more programs, books and longer hours, she said.

The funding request would then appear on subsequent school district budget votes.

A home owner with a $100,000 home would pay about $5 if taxpayers approved the measure.

It doesn’t take either approval by council members or the city’s Board of Education but just getting 25 signatures on a petition, Ms. Weldon said.

They already have enough signatures to get it on the ballot, she noted.

She and Library Director Yvonne Reff wanted to make sure that council members knew they were pursuing the petition.

“We’re a little ahead of the game, but we wanted a chance to take it to everybody,” she said.

Out of the 65 libraries in the North Country Library System, 54 get some funding through school district ballots, library officials said.

Council members said afterward they support the initiative. Three signed the petition.

“I certainly think this will be helpful here,” Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero said.

Library officials will embark on a marketing program to let the public know about the issue.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(2) comments

Holmes

Time for libraries to go the way of bookstores. I have fond memories of going to the library as I do of going to bookstores and know how that story ends. Any PC, tablet, smartphone can access thousands of free books. /There is no need for public funding of libraries today.

rdsouth

I think there's some truth to that. Libraries shouldn't be trying to compete with ebooks for the latest and greatest. Sure, they think that's how they compete because people come in wanting to read a current best seller for free. But that's not their forte. They should be repositories of hard copies of older books. Just in case. And many people can't afford ebooks or readers. Others want to consult old (but not public domain) books without having to buy them (admittedly, usually obscure stuff they wouldn't have here anyway). Instead of buying the latest new hardcover books at eye popping prices and selling them as practically free new books a few years later, libraries should be the ones buying up used books (or getting them donated). Sure, in some cases non fiction dates. Also we shouldn't have to browse to see what's on the shelf. We should be able to look it up on the website easily. If that capability doesn't already exist. How would I know? If I want to know something I use Wikipedia and if I want to read for entertainment I Amazon a used book.

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