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The Telegram
  • Basloe Library seeks input from public

  • What are people’s perceptions of the Frank J. Basloe Public Library?

    What are the strengths and weaknesses of the library’s programs and services?

    How does the library impact the quality of life in Herkimer?

    These are among the questions being asked as part of a survey that appears on the Basloe Library website, located at midyorklib.org/herkimer/.

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  • What are people’s perceptions of the Frank J. Basloe Public Library?
    What are the strengths and weaknesses of the library’s programs and services?
    How does the library impact the quality of life in Herkimer?
    These are among the questions being asked as part of a survey that appears on the Basloe Library website, located at midyorklib.org/herkimer/.
    “We are trying to get input on library services,” said Librarian Lesley Paul, who said the survey was posted in December. “How people feel about the library, their perceptions, how they like our services.”
    She added, “The library trustees are just thinking of the future. We’re in a period of transition with eBooks, the Internet and funding. We would love to have people fill out our survey.”
    Paul noted the survey consists of only eight questions and doesn’t just ask if patrons see the library services as good or poor; it asks about values and how people see the library in the community.
    “You don’t have to reside in village to fill out the survey,” Paul pointed out. “Anybody who uses the library can fill it out — or if they don’t use it, they can fill it out and let us know why.”
    She said the library trustees will be viewing the responses in order to make better decisions about what the community would like to see in the future.
    Redistricting
    The library board is currently taking steps toward redistricting.
    Paul said the library is chartered to serve the village of Herkimer and receives funds from the village and town of Herkimer, with small amounts of funding coming from the county and the state.
    “There is already a library tax on the school district in place, so we receive funding from a variety of sources,” Paul added.
    Under redistricting, the library would be rechartered to serve the geographical area that serves the school district and most of the funding would come from the library tax in place through the school district.
    “This would not make the library part of the schools — it would be separate — but both would be regulated by the Department of Education,” according to Paul.
    She said this would be a fairer system for village taxpayers, who currently pay for the library in three ways — through the village, the town and the school district taxes. With the proposed redistricting, they would pay for the library through one tax.
    While the concept is simple, there is a lot of work involved, according to Paul, including petitioning the public for enough signatures to put the proposal on the ballot for the school district vote in May. If the redistricting is approved, school district voters would decide on library board members and have a say in library finances. Library trustees are currently appointed by the village to serve five-year terms, in accordance with the library’s bylaws. With the change, new bylaws would be adopted, which would establish the terms for the new board.
    Page 2 of 2 - The library board will have help. The library trustees raised money and received a grant from the Community Foundation, matched by the town of Herkimer, to retain the services of Libby Post, of Communication Services of Albany, who has assisted other libraries in these transitions. She will be helping to market the library’s services and make sure local residents understand the plan.
    “She’s guiding us through this whole process,” said Paul. “She is also on top of the marketing campaign and giving us a brand and a logo.”
    Paul said she and the board are hoping to be able to restore library funding to its 2009 levels. Cuts in funding since then have forced the library to reduce its hours, cutting an hour from each end of the day all days except Thursday and Friday. The library is currently open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Two hours were also cut from the Saturday schedule.
    It also meant a reduction in staff to only two full-time employees including Paul plus part-time employees. The materials budget also had to be cut.
    Paul said the library has done all it could to conserve funding and hopes this change will be good for the library and the public. “We feel it’s a win-win situation,” she said.

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