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Letter: Bryant Library Budget Message From The Board Of Trustees

On Tuesday, May 15, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Roslyn High School, you will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed annual Bryant Library budget for the 2012/2013 fiscal year.  The library budget will appear, as it does each year, as Proposition #2 on the ballot.

As community members, the library trustees are striving to balance the excellent service you expect with the economic realities we all face.  This year we are confronted with multiple challenges: An 18.9 percent increase in our NYS retirement costs, the imposed sewer tax, and a decrease in revenues due to low interest rates.

The Nassau Library System (NLS) provides many services to the 54 public libraries in the county.  One of the most valuable is the delivery service that brings books and other materials requested by patrons to or from another library.  As a result of six years of cuts in state funding, each library has been asked to increase their support of NLS by contributing a larger percentage of their operating budget over the next two years.  The board has taken this into account in preparing the budget.

The library board of trustees passed a resolution to override the 2 percent tax cap at its regularly scheduled board meeting of February 24. However, the proposed 2012/2013 budget reflects a zero percent increase to the taxpayer.  We have used the projected net income for 2011-2012 and appropriated fund balance to offset any increase to the community.  The following cost-saving measures has also been applied to offset an increase in the amount raised from taxation:

Staff hours have been reduced and each vacancy is carefully reviewed before a replacement is hired.

Obtaining state grants that help defray the costs of our telecommunication services.

Partnering with the Friends of Bryant Library who support the library with programs, such as the popular museum pass program (contributions to the Friends are tax deductible).

Partnering with local community’s non-profit institutions to lower the cost of programs and services.

Purchasing cooperatively with the Nassau Library System. The Virtual Core Collection of databases and the Nassau Digital Doorway Consortium saves the library $30,000 annually.

The Bryant Library is being used more than ever. Library patrons checked out more than 271,000 items this past year. Up to 187,502 people visited the library while 36,138 attended library programs.  More than 34,304 patrons signed up to use a computer.  

E-Books and eReaders have become one of the most popular trends in the last decade.  As a member of the Nassau Digital Doorway Consortium, Bryant is purchasing eBooks that can be downloaded to the iPad, Kindles, and the Barnes & Noble Nooks.  Circulation figures for eBooks and audio books have reached the 383,000 mark.

New services are being introduced.  Bryant is one of six pilot libraries in Nassau County selected to participate in a Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID). Funding for the project has been subsidized by ALIS Corporation (our integrated library system). This new system will expedite checkout times for patrons, provide patron self-checkout stations, and improve materials inventory and security.  

The library’s budget is presented to the voters at the same time as that of the school district. However, the Bryant Library is a separate entity with its own budget that is presented as a separate proposition.  

On behalf of the board of trustees, I thank you for your past support.  During these challenging economic times your continued support is more important than ever.  Please make your vote count on Tuesday, May 15, at Roslyn High School.   Remember that support of the library is Proposition #2 on the ballot.

If you have questions or seek more detailed information, please call Library Director Cathy Mealing at 621-2240, x210.  

Mark Yohalem, president, Bryant Library board of trustees