To The Daily Sun,
Please allow the Gilmanton Year-Round Library Association to correct many misconceptions in recent letters and the repetition of so many myths that have propagated through our community. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinion but please base any decisions or comments on fact.
The idea of a full-service library was started by a group of well-meaning, town-involved residents who felt that the addition of a library would be a benefit to the whole town. They committed countless hours and dollars, solely from private or foundation sources, to find and move a beautiful building to its present site and establish the GYRL. That library was designed to provide the people of Gilmanton with the services of a modern library — books and periodicals, inter-library loan, public access computers, a place for community gatherings and events, special activities such as twice-weekly story time for preschoolers and after school events for school children, informational presentations for adults, and much more. It is now used by hundreds of people, both youth and adult, every month, offering services not previously available.
The GYRL has never committed to being fully self-funded and not requesting town funds; that is just not practical. Throughout all recent discussions, no one has ever produced a document verifying a claim of never requesting town funding. In fact, it has been documented that official town meeting records do not record any perceived "promise" not to pursue town funding, indeed they actually state that the GYRL would seek town funding.
There have been no private or closed meetings to discuss any aspects of GYRL funding or operations. Indeed, all meetings have been well publicized and open to the public, including the evening meeting which included the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee. It was disappointing to find that one selectman opted not to attend.
Yes, the GYRL did explore various funding alternatives with both the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee, with all in attendance at one joint meeting expressing positive positions on moving forward. It was decided by all that the best funding method would be inclusion in the town budget, just like so many other town services, so a multi-year warrant article was drafted; article #4 is a two year agreement that provides $47,500 for each of the next two years. As a backup position, to ensure that the library remains open, a second warrant article #21 was drafted for funding only 2016. Stated within the article itself, it is explained that if #4 passes, #21 becomes void. So, no — funds will not be taken from both articles in the event that both articles pass.
The GYRL is a public Llbrary in every sense of the word, both legally by state statute and by day-to-day operation. The fact that the GYRL is a non-profit public library and receives town funding allows the library to qualify for grants that otherwise would not be available.
While the GYRL does host numerous fund raising activities throughout the year, this only accounts for one third of its operating expenses. It is with pride that sound management has kept the annual operating budget level since the library's inception in 2008 and funding requests of the town have remained at about only two thirds of that amount. The impact on a household is expected to be only about $11 per $100K valuation, about the price of a paperback novel or DVD. Without the added funding from the town, the library will have to close.
Isn't it time that past differences, perceived or contrived, be put behind us so that we can enjoy the facilities available to all? We are proud of what has been accomplished, providing a wide array of services and fostering a sense of community. For those who have never visited, the board and staff of the GYRL would like to invite you to read a newspaper, check out an academy award winning movie or grab the latest best seller to read, either hard copy or electronically via e-books. Maybe you want to participate in a yoga class, research your ancestry or attend a program on topics ranging from bears or loons, Sherlock Holmes, the Titanic, climbing Mt. Everest, tea blending or gardening. How about sending the little ones over for Early Release Movie Day or Lego Club? Or just stop in for a friendly chat and catch up with your neighbors. We look forward to meeting you and hope to have your support on voting day.
For the GYRL Board of Directors