Gilmanton library may shut down if it doesn’t get funding
By DAN SEUFERT Union Leader Correspondent
GILMANTON — Having stayed open through 2013, thanks to donations, the Gilmanton Year-Round Library Association will once again bring a funding request to voters in March.
If voters don’t approve the funding request this time, they probably won’t be asked again, said library association Treasurer Fred Buchholz.
“We don’t want to face this, but if the town doesn’t vote for the library this time, we’re probably going to have to close down,” Buchholz said.
This summer, the association announced it had raised enough money to keep its doors open at least until February, thanks to several fundraising events and several small and large private contributions from residents.
The privately owned library, one of three libraries in town, but the only one running year-round, opened in 2009 and sought financial support from the voters at Town Meeting that year. Voters said no.
But each year after — until 2013 — residents at town meetings approved warrant articles for its yearly funding request of $45,000, which supports its yearly $70,500 budget.However, at the town’s first elections in the SB2 format earlier this year, voters defeated the library’s funding for 2013 by a vote of 401-322.Buchholz said SB2 was likely “the big wrinkle” that kept the library funding from passing in March.
“We can’t blame the stay-at-home moms or people who weren’t used to the SB2 system,” he said.
Since last March, a library staffer has been comparing the town voting list to the library member list.
“We found that half of the library patrons who were registered to vote didn’t vote,” he said. “We needed to get an understanding of why this didn’t pass, and that appears to be it.”
This year, the association will seek $50,500, a little more than last year, “because we got a little behind. After all the donations, we still needed more to pay the bills,” he said. The association will make its plea again in the weeks ahead.
“We’re going to be calling every (library) patron and ask them to vote,” Buchholz said. “We’ll be calling everyone except people we know who wouldn’t vote for us.”