May 18, 2016 Update: The referendum referred to in the letter below passed.
Thank you, voters, for supporting our Libraries.
An Open Letter from the Library Trustees of the Arcade Free Library, the Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library, and the King Memorial Library of Machias, concerning a request for an increase in the Library Aid Tax paid by Pioneer Central School District residents to support continuing operation of the libraries.
Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library
To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing this letter to thank the residents of the Pioneer Central School District for their continued support of the public libraries within the district and to encourage them to come out and vote for our upcoming referendum, Proposition Number 2 on the Pioneer Central School District Budget Ballot on May 17th.The Polling Place is the Pioneer High School on Countyline Road, and it will be open 6:30 a.m to 9:00 p.m.
Our three libraries, the Arcade Free Library, Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library and Machias King Memorial Library have been serving their respective communities well for many, many years. Each library is sustained through the financial support of the people of the community, both through tax assessments and donations of time and money by the community. A major source of support commenced in 1999 when the voters of the Pioneer Central School District approved a proposition to provide $100,000 per year in operational aid to the three libraries. This was increased in 2008 to $160,000, and again in 2011 to $190,000. Five years later, we find that we need to increase this amount in order to continue providing the services requested by the community. The referendum we have jointly formulated is an increase of $30,000; $10,000 for each of the three libraries. The impact to each taxpayer varies with assessed value, but, on the average is less than $15 per year. This is about the cost of buying one DVD, or new hard-cove book, which could be borrowed from any one of the libraries free of charge! Although we clearly realize that these are difficult times, we believe that this is money well spent as people in the community find real value in using our facilities.
Our volunteer boards of trustees and the libraries’ directors and staff have dedicated themselves to maintaining financial discipline while still providing quality facilities, materials and services to the community. However, maintaining our facilities and hours of operation, plus providing new services has added to our operating costs. In the past five years many changes have taken place at the libraries. All three libraries now have automated circulation systems and on-line catalogs of their collections. Arcade Free Library has made renovations and structural improvements. King Memorial Library moved into a brand-new building in 2004, and Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library completed a community room addition and renovations to the rest of its building in 2005. Among the three libraries there are now 30 public access computers that are able to access the Internet with high-speed connections; all three also have wireless connections available.
Our libraries continually update our print and audio-visual collections with materials that may be borrowed free of charge. Our libraries provide safe, clean meeting rooms for tutors and students, community organizations, such as Scouts, 4-H, Craft Clubs, and for GED instructors and their students. In addition, our libraries offer educational and entertainment programs throughout the year at little or no cost to the participants.
All three libraries are attractive places that actually bring our communities together. They are places where each generation of our communities may find something of lasting interest. School children come, sometimes on a daily basis after school, to broaden their studies or for recreation. Senior citizens come to participate in numerous craft, health or entertainment programs. The middle-aged find support for home design, career planning, resources in support of college/technical studies, and all generations also come to borrow interesting books in print or on audio CD's, magazines, DVD’s, and electronic books. Some may come to make copies or send faxes for a small fee. Others come to do research on local history or genealogy. Still others come to seek materials not housed in our own local libraries, but available from other member libraries in our library systems via “Inter-Library Loans.”
We are asking the residents of the Pioneer Central School District to approve Proposition Number 2 on the School District ballot on May 17th. If approved, Arcade Free Library will receive $95,000, Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library will receive $62,500, and Machias King Memorial Library will receive $62,500. This aid is NOT part of the school district budget. If approved the increased aid will be collected by the school district and then distributed directly to the libraries.
We gratefully acknowledge your past support and hope we can count on your continued support of our community libraries.
Dan Ronan, President, Arcade Free Library Board of Trustees
Elaine Stumpf, President, Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library Board of Trustees
Gary Davis, President, Machias King Memorial Library Board of Trustees