On March 13, the Bethlehem Public Library Board of Trustees unanimously approved a budget to put before voters on Tuesday, May 16. A public presentation of the $4 million proposed budget — which, after an expected $272,382 in revenue, includes a tax levy of $3,828,270 (for an increase of 2.07 percent, or $77,713) — will take place at the library on Monday, May 8, at 6 p.m.
One seat on the library board, carrying a five-year term, will also be on the May 16 ballot. The public will have a chance to meet the candidates on April 26, between 6 and 7 p.m. in the library’s community room.
Voting on both budget and board will take place between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on May 16 at Bethlehem Central High School.
From the Bethlehem Public Library Board of Trustees (May/June 2017 newsletter):
Creating a Sustainable Future
BETHLEHEM PUBLIC LIBRARY is a true reflection of our community. As needs change and evolve, we remain adaptable and ready to meet them while maintaining a strong and viable core collection. This year’s budget strikes an important balance: devoting sufficient funds to the high-quality materials patrons expect, as well as offering new services. All of this we are doing with an eye to sustainability.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT, at its very heart, a library is about literacy – from preschool storytimes that promote early literacy to tech help for adults to reinforce digital literacy. Our budget reflects our dedication to supporting literacy in all its forms. Robust funding for books for all ages is complemented by additional resources for electronic materials, which continue to see increasing demand.
IN OUR EFFORT to provide everyone equal access to information, we have made more than a dozen laptops available to borrow daily, without time limits, for use at the library. We have also begun circulating mobile wifi hotspots for those who need their internet-to-go. Partnerships with the town have allowed us to expand our wifi presence at the Elm Avenue Park complex, and we continue to pursue additional opportunities to provide wifi in other parts of the town.
THE COMMUNITY has been very receptive to our growing “library of things,” with the Friends providing much of the funding for the telescopes, GoPro cameras, karaoke machines and more that make up this collection. We’ve also seen significant support for large, all-ages community events like library mini-golf, and our 2017-18 budget provides funding to continue these types of activities.
WITH OUR HVAC UPGRADE project well under way, we are making important strides toward reducing our carbon footprint. We will see additional efficiencies through the conversion to LED lighting in the mezzanine. Our commitment to sustainability means future projects will be reviewed with the most environmentally friendly options in mind.
THIS YEAR’S BUDGET allows us to remain an institution that reflects the needs of its community in a sustainable way. On the ballot this year is a library levy 2.07% higher than last year, within the limit specified by New York State.
The proposed budget is as follows: