In a Special District Library Structure each year the budget is presented to the public, if the public votes to pass it, everyone knows exactly how much funding the library will have and how it will be spent. With other structures the library budget either shares funding on a larger town or school budget with other town/school needs or the budget needs to be supported by donation, grant and other uncertain funding techniques of association libraries. It is typical for annual budget needs not to be met 100% in these funding structures. When budget needs are unable to be met 100%, the services, staff, programming and hours end up the victims of budget cuts. Cuts happen if a budget is not funded 100%. That is fact.
The publicly agreed upon 2019 Special District Library budget collected from the taxpayers belongs to the Special District Library. If the referendum vote passes, the board of trustees has 6 months to figure out how best to restructure the library. This will not include figuring out how to fund the new library as they will not be the board of the new library. Upon dissolution and termination of our current library structure (charter) the NYS Board of Regents will take control of all assets including monies (taxes collected) held by the Special District Library to be disbursed. This leaves any new library with out funding after April 6 until new funding can be secured for 2020.
When a government entity like a library is dissolved and terminated all civil servant jobs associated with that institution are dissolved and terminated as well. As civil servants, the staff will be required to reapply for their positions. It is possible that if there are civil servants ahead of them on the civil servant wait list that want to work for Woodstock Library, our current staff will not be rehired. In addition, without funding after April 6 the library will be closed for an unknown period. Our staff will no doubt be looking for a way to support themselves and may not be available to work at Woodstock when the library reopens.
When a library charter is dissolved and terminated all assets of that institution are turned over to the control of the New York State Board of Regents. Not the town of Woodstock. Not a new library of Woodstock. A state entity that oversees libraries will decide the fate of our current 105 year old library’s collection.
Our current library charter took 8 years to become a member of the Mid-Hudson Library System. If the referendum passes our charter is dissolved and terminated, ending our partnership with the other 65 Mid-Hudson Libraries. This ends our access to their collections. The Board of Regents may not be in a huge rush to accept the new charter of a town who votes to dissolve and terminate their Special District Library. Special District Libraries are the number one recommended library structure by the NYS Board of Regents.
Special District Libraries are the most democratic library structure in New York State. Taxpayers view a publicly disclosed budget. The budget details exactly how taxpayer money will be spent and the library is beholden legally to follow their budget. Taxpayers get to vote directly on the annual budget. If the budget passes, that budget becomes the library tax levy. This means no surprises for the taxpayer or the library staff. The public also gets to vote directly on library governance. This all changes with other library structures especially Municipal Library structure.
A Special District Library is beholden the staff, the taxpayer and the publicly elected Board of Trustees. Library Directors hold Library Science Degrees, not Political Science Degrees. The Special District Library Board holds monthly meetings with Public Be Heard and engage taxpayer voice. Municipal and Association Libraries have appointed, not elected, board members. The public does not get a say in who governs the library or have any ability to change the governance in these structures. Because of the ever changing political environment, Municipal Libraries are especially in danger of censorship.