Oswego Public Library Seeks Budget Approval

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Public Library is seeking approval of a budget of $1,068,973 at the upcoming election on May 17 for the year 2011-2012.

Over the past three years, since the library has opened in its new facility there has been a dramatic increase in patron usage.

More than 1,000 new library cards have been issued bringing our total to over 9,100 card holders.

The Erik and Emily Cole Community Room and the board meeting room have been used by a wide variety of organizations and programs such as Girl Scout meetings, literacy groups, reading clubs, the Children’s Board of Oswego, recruitment for census takers, assistance for tax filers and many more.

GED classes are being held twice a week during the morning enabling individuals to obtain their high school diploma.

In addition to our services on site, the library now offers downloadable books and audio books that individuals holding a valid library card may do so from their own home.

“We did not seek an increase in our budget due to the harsh economic climate these past few years, but like your own household, our expenses have increased especially our utility and insurance costs, which are up 16 percent.  Of course books and other library materials have increased as well,” said Larry Mayo, president of the board of trustees.

The new budget will also allow the library to increase hours for the Children’s Room coordinator.

“We have been petitioned by parents and grandparents requesting an increase in our children’s programming. We have seen an increase in attendees of the programs and activities. In tough economic times it is not unusual for libraries to see such an increase. More residents use our resources since they present an opportunity for free activities and computer use,” said Carol Ferlito, Oswego Public Library director.

The library was also a recipient of the NYS Broadband Technology Opportunity stimulus grant to offer personal computer classes free of charge to community residents.

This has been a very successful program and we have reached out to other organizations and libraries to help people improve their skills.

A total of 794 people have participated in classes and individual one-one assistance since November learning such skills as Microsoft Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, how to complete resumes and applications, search the Internet, connect with others using Facebook and e-mail and maintain their computers safely.

“This is an exciting time for us,” said Ferlito. “Our library is looking forward to assisting organizations and agencies in the Oswego City School District in training individuals in the use of technology both at the library and off site.”

The New York State budget has severely cut aid to library systems, back to 1994 levels.

The library expects reduced assistance from the state in 2011-2012.

The tax levy increase requested is about $60,000.

This is approximately $10-$12 per house appraised at $85,000.

“We realize this is a tough time economically, but we must ask our library district residents to consider this increase, basically the price of one pizza, to allow the library to continue to service the growing needs of our district residents at the level expected by the community,” said Mercedes Niess, library board trustee.

In addition, the public will be asked to vote to fill one trustee position for a five-year term beginning July 1, 2011.

The library taxing district consists of the city of Oswego, the towns of Minetto, Oswego and Scriba and parts of Volney.

For more information, contact Mayo or Ferlito at 341-5867.