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March 18, 2013

Meeting to be held on Barker library vote

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A public meeting will provide some details about the proposed Barker library tax levy.

Residents of the Barker Central School District are invited to attend a meeting at 7 p.m. March 27 at the Barker Fire Hall, 1660 Quaker Road to hear a presentation about a vote to allow the Barker Free Library to become a school district public library. The vote will be one of the propositions on the district’s budget election on May 21.

The Barker Free Library Board of Trustees has decided to pursue becoming a school district public library in order to stabilize its funding and provide elected representation to the taxpayers, officials said. If residents vote for approval on May 21, Barker school district residents will be taxed to fund the library.

A meeting notice from Roy Anderson, president of the library Board of Trustees, was mailed to all district residents this month. At the March 27 meeting, Anderson will provide details about the vote that proposes to transition the Barker Free Library to a school district public library.

Barker is not alone in this effort, library officials said. Royalton-Hartland went through a similar process last year. The New York State Board of Regents is urging libraries like Barker to become districts in order to shift tax support from their local municipalities to a direct public vote.

“This type of community-based funding is the only way to provide a reliable source of operating income for the library,” Anderson said.

Currently, the Barker School District, the residents in the Village of Barker, Town of Somerset and portions of the Town of Hartland have supported the library through taxes they paid along with donations and fundraising efforts of groups like the Friends of the Library. But expenses are increasing while revenues are stalling.

“The Barker Free Library has had significant increases in circulation and patron visits over the past several years while experiencing funding shortfalls,” Anderson said. “The board recognizes that libraries, like school systems and hospitals, are essential community resources. Businesses and homeowners look closely at these resources when they make decisions about where to locate. A good library attracts people to our community and enhances our quality of life. With community-based funding, our library will be able to continue to provide everyone the opportunity for life-long learning and public access to the latest technologies for years to come.”

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