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Library officials ask for extra $5 for 2020

If voters in October approve the Shelter Island Public Library budget for next year, each can expect to be assessed an additional $5 for 2020 if they own property valued at $800,000. Those with more expensive property can expect to pay a bit more while those with less expensive property would pay less.

That’s the word from Library Director Terry Lucas and Treasurer Bill Martens, based on information provided to them by town assessors. That’s actually less than the increase voters approved a year ago for the current budget when whey saw an approximate $6.40 increase in their taxes to support the library.

Voters will be asked to approve an $848,421 spending plan of which $687,166 would come from tax revenues.

The library is expected to take in more revenue from contributions and fundraising in 2020, Mr. Martens said, noting that the Elizabeth S. Patterson Charitable Remainder Trust had willed a bequest to establish the Gill Patterson Youth Library Fund in 2015. It will provide more money in 2020 for children’s books, materials and programs than it has in past years, Ms. Lucas said.

Overall, $115,150 is expected from contributions and fundraising events next year, almost doubling the $63,130 that came in last year.

As for spending increases, salaries and benefits, including rising health insurance costs, account for much of the change. In the current year, the library allocated $517,360 for those expenses and in 2020 expects to have to increase those costs to $592,060.

Costs for e-books are going to rise as a result of a policy instituted by Macmillan that takes effect Nov. 1. Libraries will be limited to acquiring a single copy of new e-books to give the company an opportunity to sell copies to individuals for the first eight weeks after the initial publication.

Macmillan is one of the largest book publishers, and e-books sold to libraries represent about 45 percent of its overall digital book sales. Sales to libraries under the current arrangement are “cannibalizing our digital sales,” said John Sargent, the company’s chief executive, in a press release.

That’s reflected in the library’s budget here — books and other media goes from $56,600 this year to $64,086 in 2020.

Fines have been eliminated, but the library will still collect money for lost or damaged books and materials.

Other cost increases are minor and in some cases, even less than they have been this year.

The library has added a number of services this year, including:
• Becoming the Island’s only Passport Acceptance facility where customers can get pictures taken and fill out applications for passports.
• Expanding its collaboration with the Town Recreation Center, Shelter Island School, Sylvester Manor, Mashomack Preserve, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, the Taylor’s Island Foundation and the Perlman Music Program.
• Expanded programs, including Great Decisions discussions, the French Conversation Club, the Poetry Roundtable, Shakespeare in Community, Fun Friday for teens and Sensory Exploration for younger children.
• More authors, artists and experts in various fields hosted through the Friday Night Dialogue Program.
• Provided space for meetings including the League of Women Voters, but space considerations have resulted in not always being able to accommodate all requests.

Ms. Lucas has started a process with the New York Library Association to gain Sustainable Library Certification based on efforts the staff has made to better use natural resources.

Library Certification and has created a planning committee to follow through with goals set forth in its strategic plan.

The library has also replaced a side door to enhance security.
In the past 12 months, from the end of June 2018 to July 1 this year, there have been 92,562 visits to the library and 3,063 residents hold library cards. The library has 31,572 books in its collection with close to 65,000 checkouts in the 12 months from June 30, 2018 to July 1, 2019. There have been 9,710 downloads of e-books and audio books through the Live-brary.com system.

Voting takes place on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the library between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.