The Port Library Board of Trustees recently proposed its operating budget for 2010. An information and "meet the candidates" session will be presented to the community on March 25 at the library prior to voting on April 7. In light of economic demands, there will be a zero percent increase through increased efficiencies, conservation measures, and reductions in spending. However, there will be a 1.5 increase in the tax levy because of reductions in state aid and interest income.
The challenge proved difficult but not insurmountable. Library President Julie Geller commented, "Our commitment is to maintaining our facility with the programs and services the community has come to expect. Demand for our services continues to grow and we expect this trend to continue. We also need to stay current with the technology and on-line resources that seem to be exploding around us. Be assured that our discussions have been thoughtful, and at the same time, forward-thinking. The enormous challenge we face is in dealing with unexpected costs in the future. We know that this 'zero budget plan' will be feasible for this year only. Support from Albany is uncertain, and it is our job to assess how we will be affected by the economic downturn."
The Port Library, over 100 years old, continues to evolve and meet the demands of an educated, diverse, and knowledgeable community. For example, the staff, well aware that it's easier and more efficient to use online resources to search for information, stays current with technology. This helped limit the "spend" on physical inventory. The library also offers seminars, meetings, gatherings, movie screenings as well as the latest in magazine, newspaper, and periodical subscriptions. For those looking to come in from the cold, the comfortable seating is welcoming. During the sweltering summer months, the library beckons as a cool oasis. In a busy world, the library can provide an escape just like all great books do, which incidentally it still stocks!
The search for new funds beyond the tax base remains ongoing and staff members in 2008 wrote proposals and received various grants. Private funding, such as Friends of the Library, always provides generous support and volunteers continue to grow in importance. Nancy Curtin, the library's director, remarked, "The library's use is exploding while our resources are tightening. It's a fantastic and free asset to the community and we'll continue to look creatively at how we spend and budget because we don't want to cut services."
For more information about the library, call 883-4400 or see www.pwpl.org/information.