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Massena Public Library officials scrutinize purchases

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MASSENA — With the budget tightening, the public library director believes she may have to look more closely at planned acquisitions to see if they’re necessary.

“Every penny counts. We really have to analyze all of our spending. I can’t in this day and age purchase a book that will only go out twice a year, especially nonfiction, which are more expensive,” said Elaine Dunne-Thayer.

Library board of trustees members agreed in November to cut $10,000 from the 2013 budget and balance the remainder of the budget by dipping into unreserved funds.

They agreed to take $5,000 from personal services and $5,000 from special projects to help cover a $22,720 hole in the 2013 budget, which the Town Council adopted. The remaining $12,720 will be taken from unreserved funds. That left library personal services at $246,811 and special projects at $5,000.

But it also allows the library to continue operating under current hours with no staff cuts — at least for another year.

Trustees had warned in November that changes in revenue would have an effect on the way business was done in the future, and the future is now, according to Ms. Dunne-Thayer, who said trustees need to make sure purchases are well-spent.

“We read book reviews, and we check the New York Times to see where (the book) is on the list. Libraries get decent prices from publishers on books, but we really have to think about every book we purchase,” Ms. Dunne-Thayer said. “Is it something that will circulate? Is it something that will appeal to the Massena public? What’s a good purchase and what’s not? In a way it goes hand-in-hand with our reduced budget.”

If a book isn’t available at the Massena Public Library, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said librarians may be able to procure it from another library through the interlibrary loan system.

“We’re fortunate to have that system. We use that a lot,” she said.

As a way to help with their budget, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said they’re still looking for individuals, families or groups to “adopt” for a year one of the 3,000 periodicals they subscribe to, saving them that cost. Those who pay for a yearlong subscription will have their name noted on the cover.

“That’s been going very well. I have probably a little more than half of the magazines already adopted,” she said. “We’re reaching out to the community again, to really think about coming in and looking at our journals and offering to pay for a journal for a year.”

As the year progresses, trustees will also explore fundraisers that can help bring in money. The library recently held a successful Christmas raffle.

“We have close to $800 on the raffle and on the memorial tree,” she said. “The community loves its library. A big thank-you to the community for supporting our fundraiser.”

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