The Flower Memorial Library Board of Trustees voted at the August 2019 board meeting to pursue additional funding for the library via a school ballot referendum. This referendum allows the library to request funds directly from Watertown City School District taxpayers, as set forth in New York State Education Law 259.
The library will seek $75,000 on the school ballot vote for new books and other items to compensate for the 85% decrease in materials funding from the City of Watertown over the past ten years. Whereas in 2009 the library received $65,000 for materials from the City of Watertown, the 2020-2021 budget provided only $10,000 for library materials including children's books and e-books. Although the Friends of Flower Memorial Library have worked diligently to raise funds to close this gap, and the Board of Trustees has appropriated some funds to close this gap, bolder steps must be taken to ensure the future of Flower Memorial Library. The total cost for each property owning resident of the school district will be less than $5 per year (based on $100,000 of assessed property value).
A 2016 Pew Research Center study showed that over 90% of Americans consider the library to be “very” or “somewhat” important to their communities, and there is no reason to believe that Watertown is any different. The same study showed that about half of all Americans over the age of sixteen had used their public libraries at least once in the last year. Flower Memorial Library offers access to its collections, programs, and services to all members of the community at no charge, and without regard to race, citizenship, education level, economic status, or any other condition. It is truly a center of the community.
We believe that this endeavor will ensure future funding for Flower Memorial Library. We look forward to discussing this initiative with you further and would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
You can find more information about the School Ballot Vote here. Please call 315-785-7701 if you have any questions.