Dear Editor of the New Canaan Patch,
On behalf of the entire Library community, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for bringing the needs of our beloved institution to light in your feature article about our budget presentation to the Board of Selectman. The Library’s unique arrangement with the Town of New Canaan folds our request for financial support into the budget process for all Town departments, and as a result, it is not always a highlight.
The New Canaan Library, established in 1877, is indeed a nonprofit organization and offered library services by subscription until 1895, when the Town of New Canaan made its first annual appropriation to the Library with the understanding that services would be free and available to all. Since that time, the Library has partnered with the Town to provide all residents access to the outstanding literary collections, services, and programs that today make the Library the intellectual and cultural center of New Canaan.
As in past years, the Town grant we seek for fiscal year 2013-2014 budget represents 74% of the total funding needed for the Library’s operating budget to provide basic services 342 days a year. The 26% balance of the funds needed to keep the Library operating at current standards comes from the private sector donations the Library seeks through the Annual Challenge, fundraising events, grants, and other contributions. Currently, 1,200 residents or 15% of New Canaan households contribute to the Library’s Annual Challenge, but over 80% of residents carry a Library card. This past year, over 500,000 items were borrowed and over 35,000 adults, teens, and children attended programs. Private donors are our heroes, for they bridge the gap and make it possible to fully fund our operating budget.
In addition, the New Canaan Library Association owns the building and the land on which it sits, and must raise the necessary capital for building repairs and improvements from private donations. In the past year, donations funded a much needed wi-fi upgrade, improved parking, and many more hidden but necessary repairs to the Library’s systems and facility.
We are very grateful for the Town of New Canaan's partnership and annual grant to the Library, which allows us to keep the lights on and the doors open. We can only deliver the top notch service this town expects if we receive the needed funding from both the private and public sector. Thank you for your support.
Christine Yordán, President, Library Board of Trustees Jim Duffy, Kate Kend, Chris Le Bris, Tracy McManus, Kajsa Sheibley, Board Executive Committee