Big crowd attracted to Year-Round Library sustainability meeting

GILMANTON — With ideas voiced as wide-ranging as reaching people through the Internet to holding a barn dance and going to local restaurants and music venues for 50-50 splits fl, the Year-Round Public Library was packed last night with people throwing out suggestions to keep the library open beyond November.
Library Chair Anne Kirby told people she was not only thrilled to see so many people in the library but to see a number of faces she didn't recognize.
"You're hear and that means you care," she said.
This is the first public gathering of the library board and its staff since town voters narrowly rejected raising $45,000 to help pay for the operations costs of the Gilmanton Year-Round Public Library. This was the second time in four year voters rejected the funding request. The first time was in 2009 when the library first opened.
Along with nearly a hundred different ideas for fund-raising, the group agreed that step number one was a solid business plan that could be presented to various donors and contributors.
After an hour of suggestions, non-profit business developer Lisa Gosselin said she would help with a team of people who wanted to put together a solid and professional plan the defined the goals of the fund-raising effort and how the money would be administered.
The Gilmanton Year-Round Library is a 501(c)(3) incorporated not-for-profit business. It is governed by a board of directors that holds open monthly meetings and is regularly audited.
Kirby estimated its true annual operating costs — salaries, membership in various library associations and utilities costs—– are about $120,000 annually with all but $70,000 filled by volunteers.
There is a $125,000 endowment and a portion of the endowment's annual income is used to offset utilities. Kirby said there is a very specific set of criteria governing how the endowment income can be spent.
Overall, the tone of the meeting was upbeat. Peppered throughout the meeting were occasional the occasional comments about the politics of the town and what brought the library to the point of facing closure come November, when it will run out of operating money.
One woman even pointed out that the problem is getting public funding is that taxpayers are under the impression that the town is already paying for two library — both of which are seasonal and cost the taxpayers a total of about $4,000.
"Your facility isn't needed in their eyes," she said, underscoring the theme of the fund-raising effort that wants to reach out to people and tell them how important they believe the library is to the community.
Another suggestion was to host and attract people who are not currently library supporters or patrons by engaging them through different types of activities.
Direct fund-raising wasn't the only topic last night. Many said the library should work to get its supporters to write letters and make their feelings known to the selectmen and members of the Budget Committee, who have steadfastly refused to include funds for the privately-built library in the town's operating budget. Each time funding has appared on the town warrant it has been as a separate article.
They noted that the town's elected officials won't support town funding unless they are convinced the majority of the voters also support the Year-Round Library.
One man suggested raising money by letting other people in the community know how important the year-round library is and how it has become, in his mind, such and integral part of the community.
"Let them know this is the community," he said.

CUTLINE (Gilmanton Year-Round Library) People with fund-raising ideas packed the Gilmanton Year-Round Library last night for a workshop session on how to raise money to keep the library open beyond November 1.