Operators of the Gilmanton Year Round Library raise the balance of funds through donations, grants and fundraising efforts but hope voters will support an article on this year's town warrant. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)
By DAVID CARKHUFF/THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — On Saturday, backers of the Gilmanton Year-Round Library will hope to avoid a repeat of last year, when voters decided not to fund the library.
But ultimately, the community will be the one to decide the fate of the library, one way or the other, according to Chris Schlegel, member of the board of directors.
The Gilmanton Year-Round Library, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, relied on fundraising last year after a 2016 warrant article was narrowly voted down by 51 to 49 percent (523-505).
Article 24 on this year's warrant is a petitioned article to raise $48,500 for the library. Tax impact is 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $22 on a $200,000 property.
The deliberative session of Town Meeting is Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m., at the Gilmanton School.
A survey performed by The Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire last summer gave a snapshot response, with about 20 percent or 343 of the 1,715 surveys returned, but some ambiguity resulted about whether the town should own the library.
"A large part of the reason that we did the survey that we did with the UNH Survey Center was to see what kind of support there would be with that," Schlegel said. "What we got back from the survey was actually mixed. If it was going to be town owned, they did want to see a 501(c)(3) partnership, which is what we are thinking. I do think it's a possibility that that could happen at some point. We do have support. Town officials are quite supportive of the library right now."
But Schlegel added, "It would have to happen through the community, not just town officials."
This year's town vote, Schlegel said, is "very important."
"In order to operate as a full-service library, which is our mission, we really do need that funding," she said.
The request for $48,500 would supplement a total operating budget of $77,833, she said.
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