By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — Town residents should be getting a questionnaire about the future of the Year-Round Library in a few days and the director of the board of trustees, Chris Schlegel is encouraging people to fill it out and return it.
Schlegel said that since the funding question failed at last year's annual Town Meeting ballot session, she and her board members have been trying to dig down deep and find out why.
"We had some community conversations after (the vote) and learned that many would support it if it was town owned," she said.
Right now, the Gilmanton Year-Round Library is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that relies on grants, fundraising and the occasional generosity of town voters, who have approved some operating money in past year's budgets.
She said that for years she and other board members thought this was the financial model that the townspeople preferred, but has recently learned that many people feel otherwise.
"We're trying to flesh that out," she said, noting that in her conversations with the state librarian and others in the field she has learned there are other financial structures that could be used.
She said they directed her to the UNH Survey Center who help design the survey and is taking care of the mailing, collection and data analysis. Schlegel said there is a grant and some donations to be used for strategic planning.
"If people prefer we become town-owned, then we'll be able to prepare for that," she said. "There are other models and if that's what people want, then we'll look at some of them."
She said the second purpose of the questionnaire is to learn what services the library provides that people like and what services people would like them to provide that they currently don't.
She said the that since its inception, the library has maintained records on a number of things like usage, the types of books, audio books, and movies that are checked out, and computer usage so they didn't ask a lot of questions about the things they already know.
Schlegel also said that she and Deb Chase, who the head trustee for the Gilmanton Corner Library are planning on talking about how each library can help the other.
"We're real excited about this," she said.
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