Recently our library sent out a flier showing four proposals for a new or improved library. Costs ranged up to $14.5 million. Why not seriously consider mounting a drive to raise all or part of this money via private sources? It has been done in places with far less affluent citizens than we have in our million dollar homes. We are personally (and only accidentally) aware of two such cases of funding libraries privately.
In Camden, ME, they had a small beautiful library that was built in 1927. They wanted to expand. I spoke with the library administrator. Specifically, I asked her how much it had cost and did they have any difficulty getting public approval for a bond. The project cost, as I recall, was around $4 million then (perhaps $8 million today). There was no bond required! The entire $4 million was raised by donations from individuals, corporations (how many could there be in a resort town?), business owners, civic organizations, etc.
OK, Camden is not a poor town, though far less affluent than Manhasset. The second example is Herrin, IL, a small farm town of 10,000 residents with very meager financial resources. They, too, want to expand and update their library and they are doing it in the same manner as Camden. No bond required.
It is my opinion that this would be an excellent approach for the Manhasset Library primarily because, financially, there are two very distinct citizen components. One group is young or middle-aged, very affluent, who moved to Manhasset with children and who are willing to pay for almost anything they deem to be an improvement. No problem.
The other component is composed of longtime Manhasset residents whose children have grown up. Many are widows or widowers who just don't want to leave Manhasset. Now, with the assurance that Nassau property taxes will rise drastically in the near future, those mostly retirees will again be hard-pressed financially.
I feel that this proposal should be given serious attention. Hey, if anybody will donate $5 million, name the library after them! Why not?