Gardiner Library Celebrates 10 Years on Farmer’s Turnpike
By L.A. McMahon
The year 2018 marks a stepping stone for the Gardiner Library as we celebrate our 10-year anniversary at 133 Farmer’s Turnpike. From the beginning, while hundreds of people formed a human chain to transfer books from the old library to the new building, the Gardiner Library has been supported and driven forward by the community we serve.
Gardiner residents financially support the library in at least two ways every year. First, in July, everyone receives a school tax bill from either New Paltz or Wallkill. As an example, families in the New Paltz School district who own a home valued at $360,000, pay approximately $1.60 annually. The numbers are similar for people living in the Wallkill School District.
Second, in January, property owners receive the county and town property tax bill. The Gardiner Library receives $229,230 annually from the town, which is part of the “town general tax” line on the bill. Again, if you own a home valued at $360,000, your portion of the town tax that goes to the library is approximately $108 annually. Even with additional staffing and operating costs, the library has not asked for an increase from the town since 2008, the year we moved it to Farmer’s Turnpike.
The remaining 30% of the library’s annual budget is raised through fundraising, fines (don’t feel guilty when you return that video three days late) and printing fees. Grants are not included as part of the money needed to balance the annual budget since that money pays for “extras,” and we do not know which grants we will apply for and receive year to year.
The question is: Are you getting your money’s worth? In 2017, almost 3,800 residents had a Gardiner Library card and over 29,000 people visited the library. Over 40,000 items were circulated, and the library now owns over 35,000 printed materials and over 4,000 audiobooks and DVDs. The Ramapo Catskill Library System (RCLS) provides over 18,000 electronic books and other electronic resources. The library offered 630 adult and 300 children’s program sessions with a total program attendance of approximately 10,250. Both free and fee-based programs and events were offered almost daily.
In comparison to other libraries in the RCLS that serve populations similar in size to Gardiner’s, we tend to rank high on value and lower on amount of money spent and received.
While the Gardiner Library spent $13,000 (or 5.37% of its budget) on new materials, other comparable libraries spent between 7% and 15% of their budgets on new materials. The Gardiner Library received a total of $243,230 from city, county and town taxes, while the other comparable libraries received between $338,000 and $751,000. The Gardiner Library has .58 staff per 1,000 residents and 3.30 full time-equivalent employees vs. 1.13 to 1.47 staff per 1,000 residents and 8.37 full time-equivalent employees at comparable libraries. However, the Gardiner Library has an average of 7.11 checkouts per resident; only one of the comparable libraries has more, at 9.07 checkouts per resident. The Gardiner Library is in the top 50% of libraries when ranked on total transactions per capita.
In the next 10 years I would like the Gardiner Library to grow and change according to the needs and wants of Gardiner residents. Through the end of 2018, a survey will be posted at https://gardinerlibrary.org/supportsurvey. asp.
Your voice will have a direct impact on the short and long term goals we develop for the next three to five years. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with other input and suggestions.