Canandaigua, N.Y.-- On Tuesday, July 17, taxpayers in the Canandaigua City School District will vote on a proposition that could determine the future of the Wood Library.
The Wood Library is the only library in Canandaigua and according to its executive director, it needs help from the public using community-based funding.
“We're at this point where we have to think ahead and we’re worried about what direction we're headed in,” Executive Director Jenny Goodemote says. “We want to be more fiscally responsible and put the library on more solid footing.”
The community-based funding would be 29 cents per $1,000 of the assessed home value for anyone who is a Canandaigua City School District taxayer.
Right now, the city of Canandaigua contributes 21 cents per $1,000 of the assessed value to the library. The town of Canandaigua has their library tax set at 12 cents.
If the proposition passes, the city and town would get rid of their allotted 21 cents and 12 cents and adopt the 29 cents measure.
So for example, a taxpayer in Canandaigua with a home assessed at $160,000 will pay about $46 a year for the library.
The library says that up until now they’ve been using their cash reserve and the endowment fund to help keep the library running. Goodemote is worried that continuing to do so will not bode well for the library’s future.
The entire operating budget for 2013 is $800,000 and Goodemote hopes $600,000 of that will come from the community-based funding. She says donations, grants and collections of fines will help cover some of the rest.
Goodemote says the library constantly operates with an uncertain budget.
“At any point those municipalities can decided to not give it to the library,” she says. “Hopewell cut us completely last year and the town of Farmington is on a 3-year plan to cut us by 33 percent. That gives you an idea of the pattern we're headed in.”
If the proposition doesn’t pass, Goodemote says the library will be forced to close on Mondays. She says that programming and collections will also be cut.
Canandaigua resident John Taylor and his family frequent the library. In fact, he comes to it daily. He says he doesn’t mind paying more in taxes if it means helping the library.
“People shouldn’t regret a small increase in their taxes for everything the library gives back to the community,” he says. “My children are here everyday and $46 dollars is nothing.”
Not everyone agrees with Taylor though.
Some people think the library should find other ways to cut back before asking people to pay more for taxes, especially since not everyone uses the library.
Canandaigua resident James Moore says he would support the proposition but has some concerns. Given recent reading trends and the rise of tablets and e-readers, Moore wants to know that the library would take technology into consideration.
“With the Kindle, the Nook and all the rest of technology changing, library technology would have to change with it,” says Moore. “I just want to make sure that those types of things would be available and that’s what the library money raised is going towards is to create the library of the future.”
Goodemote says the library hopes to invest in laptops, e-readers and expand their e-reader library with the new budget.
“The role of libraries has changed,” says Goodemote. “It's not about books anymore. It really isn't. Libraries are a place to gather and learn. They are place to get technology support. The library has always been there for people. I'm afraid to say what would happen to the library if the vote fails.”