2013-04-05 / Community News

Library projects 7 percent budget rise

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Nancy Crowell, executive director of the Scarborough Public Library, said despite the rumor that libraries across the nation will soon become a thing of the past, the town library is as vibrant as ever.

“There has always been a rumor that the end of libraries is near, but I can tell you the library in Scarborough is not near death,” Crowell told members of the Town Council’s finance committee during the library’s departmental budget review Tuesday, April 2.

Crowell said on the contrary, the library has seen a three percent increase in its circulation, a 5,700 increase in interlibrary loans, a “significant increase” in reference questions and more people attending the nearly 400 programs and events held at the facility every year.

“The library has become more than ever a resource for the town and will continue to be,” said Larissa Pratt, a library trustee.

Pratt said to continue to offer the service and provide the books, magazines and other materials patrons are looking for, the library must make sure it has the best employees possible and pay them a fair and equitable wage.

To that end, three years ago, the library began a pay parity program that looked at wages librarians were being paid in other communities and what other town employees were being paid.

This year, Crowell and the trustees are asking for an additional $39,100 to conclude the pay parity program.

Overall the library’s gross operating budget is projected to be $1.04 million, a $69,040, or 7.1 percent increase over this year’s budget. The town’s appropriation is projected to be $916,400. Changes in the budget include $11,705 in cost-of-living increases for employees, $3,000 in additional e-books and $3,000 in additional funding for information systems.

Crowell said she had originally asked for $10,000 to purchase new e-books, but Town Manager Tom Hall had reduced that number to $8,000 when he presented his budget to the Town Council. Crowell said the library trustees intend to raise the additional $2,000 through fundraising.

She said the library currently owns 350 e-book titles.

Although e-books have been a popular feature at the library, Pratt said in order to meet its commitment to Minerva—a statewide on-line catalog system—the library must maintain its print collection.

The library has a number of capital equipment purchase requests for fiscal year 2014. The major requests include $10,000 to upgrade the library’s public meeting room and $10,900 to replace aging computers. Crowell said Bangor Savings Bank and the Scarborough Chamber of Commerce have each offered to donate $2,000 toward the $16,000 cost of the meeting room upgrade.

Crowell has included a $25,000 capital improvement request for preliminary cabling and a transfer switch for an emergency generator that is going to be requested in the fiscal year 2015 budget.

“This is something that has deferred from previous years,” Crowell said. “We continue to see the need is there and is important to us, not just as a library, but for the community.”

The generator would make the library eligible to serve as Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center or volunteer reception center in times of emergency.

Want to comment on this story? Login to our website at leader.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

Return to top