Year-Round Library will ask Gilmanton voters for $52,500

GILMANTON — The Board of Directors for the Year-Round Public Library has decided to ask the town for $52,500 for operating costs for 2014.

Association President Anne Kirby said yesterday the board met earlier this week and decided to commit to privately raising $18,000 of the annual operating budget of $70,500.

"We want to show good faith," she said. "We thought we could raise the $18,000."

The $52,500 will be petitioned on to the annual town warrant for 2014. The March vote on the matter will be the second election for Gilmanton since the taxpayers voted in 2012 to adopt the provisions of RSA 40:13 or the Official Ballot — commonly referred to as SB-2.

In 2013, voters narrowly rejected a petitioned warrant article for $45,000 for operation expenses at the privately constructed Year-Round Library — the second time in its four-year history that the request failed. The first time was in 2009, which was the year the facility across Rte. 140 from the town school opened.

The Year-Round Library is a 501(c)(3) incorporated non-for-profit business. It is governed by an 11-person board of directors and is audited annually.

After voters rejected the warrant article in 2013, library directors and supporters mounted a fund-raising campaign and have been able to keep the library open. Kirby said they have raised enough money to stay open until March of 2014.

In an recent letter to the editor, Kirby wrote that the library won't be able to stay open without some town support.

"But the reality is, to stay open past March 2014 we need your help. It is imperative that the library be recognized as a town-supported community resource," she wrote.

There is a $125,000 endowment and a portion of that is used to offset utilities. All totaled Kirby estimated the Year-Round Library costs about $120,000 annually to operate with all by $70,500 offset by numerous volunteer labor.

Kirby said yesterday that the board of directors knows there are grants available, however the library won't qualify without some town financial support.

When asked, she said the board has had no recent official communications with the Selectboard.

She said there has been some efforts to coordinate some of their activities with the Gilmanton Library Trustees who manage the seasonal library in the Iron Works portion of town and the Gilmanton Library that is at the "four corners".

"There was an earlier attempt to come up with a joint E-books project but it was just too expensive," she said.

"My hope is that some day we can figure out a way to provide the best library services to the residents of Gilmanton," Kirby continued.

She said the Year-Round Library has become a part of the community. According to Kirby there are 1,500 card holders and 22 after-school programs for children.

So far this year, there have been 10,023 transactions and 6,448 total visitors including children, teens, and adults. One-thousand nine-hundred and ninety-seven people have participated in the programs at the Year-Round Library that include Story Time, Teen Night, a Loon Program, Bear Program and Bobcat Program, and a Food Festival. The Year Round Library offered a day care program for children whose parents attended the 2013 Town Meeting Deliberative Session.

On Thursday, because it is American Education Week, Kirby said there is a teacher appreciation reception during the late afternoon to honor staff at the Gilmanton Elementary School.