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A ‘yes’ vote ensures Ripley library’s future

May 12, 2016
By Robyn Near , Westfield Republican

The Ripley Library, after many months of research, questions and thought, is asking the voters of the Ripley School District to vote on May 17 to make our library a District Library. This does not mean the library will in any way be a part of the school system. It will be directly supported by the residents of the Ripley Central School District.

What does this mean for you? It means several things:

Voters will elect volunteer (unpaid) library trustees.

An annual budget will be put to the voters for approval if a future increase is necessary.

Funds will be available to purchase more books, movies and computers as well as provide learning opportunities for the community.

Additional day or evening hours will be available.

We are a small library and as such, have not been able to offer many of the services larger libraries can. Ripley Library is currently funded by $28,160 per year in town of Ripley taxes. In addition to this, the school has generously given the library an additional $3,000 per year. While the $3,000 a year is nice, it is not guaranteed.

This combined income of $31,160 is used to pay salaries for three part-time employees. Utilities and basic costs of keeping the building open are not even covered by this amount. It does not cover new book purchases, computer maintenance, and materials necessary for the day to day operation of the building or any extras such as the Summer Reading Program or workshops/training for the community at large.

All of these expenses are funded by our fundraisers throughout the year such as hot dog sales, bake sales, Annual Yard Sale, Annual Auction and the Murder Mystery dinners, etc. We need to raise more than double the income just to maintain our current level of service.

It is hard to believe, but without the Friends of the Library fundraisers as well as the library-sponsored fundraisers, our library could not stay open.

But my friends, we are fundraised out. We cannot continue to function as a viable library by asking the donors, often the same people over and over, to offset the lack of community-based funding for the library.

By becoming a district library, the library will have stable, sustainable community-based funding that will enable it to grow and become a focal point of community participation.

By voting YES on Proposition 3 at the Ripley Central School budget vote May 17, you will help insure that our town will have a library long into the future.

Is there a cost to you? Of course there is a cost. Town of Ripley residents currently help support the library through their town taxes. This would cease. The town would no longer collect the funding that has gone to the library. Instead, a separate line item would be added to the school tax bill. The school district would collect the funding and turn it over to the library.

The library is asking for $85,000 in community-based funding. This amounts to $1.04 per $1,000 of your home's assessed value. For a home assessed at $60,000, the community-based funding for the library would be approximately $62 per year, or approximately $5 per month. Presently for every public dollar invested in the library, the community receives $7.73 in library programs and services.

Five dollars per month is very affordable. It amounts to a couple cups of coffee a month at Meeder's; it is far less than a pack of cigarettes or a six pack of beer.

The future of our library is at stake.

In a recent newspaper commentary, it was stated that taxing is easier than fundraising. We are not taking the easy way out. That is not why we are asking you to support Proposition 3. Fundraising always gives a return for your money, whether it be in baked goods, an evening of entertainment, or an item you want. A small line item tax for the library's community-based funding is a long term investment in education, enrichment, socialization and community spirit.

Don't let our library decline and cease to exist for the lack of pennies a day. District libraries are part of the democratic process. You elect the trustees. You approve the budget. You benefit from the opportunities our library offers.

Please vote yes on Proposition 3 on May 17.



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