library needs money and a new home
April 22, 2009 | MENDON -- In the living room there
is a solid wood desk, computer with the latest technologies,
and a telephone. Starting in the furthest corner, shelves
snake along the walls and lead into a bedroom overrun
by books. The shelves continue into what was once a
kitchen. Down the hall and off to the left there is
a bathroom with a tub and a light blue shower curtain.
This little white home has been serving as the Mendon
Cottage Library since 2004, and had to be temporarily
closed in March due to insufficient funds, said Lynn
Butler, chair of the city's library board.
Butler said the library's main source of revenue is
generated through donations. A smaller portion, approximately
one third, is given by the city; however, Butler said
the library is in need of further support from the city.
"Right now the city does give us $7,000 a year to
run the library," she said. "But when you're looking
at a running budget of around $23,000 a year, it's really
hard to run on only $7,000."
The home is the property of the Watkins family, who
own the land around the building at the corner of 100
East and North Main streets. Every month the library
board must pay rent, roughly $460, to continue using
the home as the Mendon Cottage Library, Butler said.
"We're paying rent, which is something other cities
don't have to do because the city owns the building,"
Butler, who has been involved with the library since
it opened four and a half years ago, said the library's
financial woes derive mainly from the fact that the
city does not own the building.
"You have to buy the building or build a building
to get around that problem," she said.
The library board's goal is to become a state certified
library, Butler said. One stipulation to meet this goal
is that the city has to fund 65 percent of the library,
something Butler said does not happen.
In hopes of gaining more support from the city, the
Mendon Cottage Library Board encouraged local residents
to attend the City Council meeting on April 9, Butler
George Deweese, city councilman and library liaison,
said while the council would like to help further fund
the library, the city is not financially solvent, and
could not financially support building a new library.
The council did request the library board come back
next month with a location within the city where they'd
like to build a library, and if the city approves the
location, a new library can be built there.
Deweese said a new library building would cost anywhere
between $200,000 and $300,000 to construct, but due
to financial constraints the city will not be able to
help fund the project, and the board will need to come
up with donations.
"It could be done for less if we had volunteers that
were willing to help build the building," he said.
A library tax was also suggested, which Deweese said
may be on the election ballot next fall. The decision
to add the new tax to the ballot will be voted on by
the council within the next few months.
Deweese said every city council member is being asked
to present a budget for the following year. The library
presented their budget at the council meeting and is
While the city is currently contributing $7,000 a
year to the library, Deweese said cuts are inevitable,
and the council is working on where those cuts will
According to a Mendon Cottage Library financial status
report from July 2008 through March 2009, the library
had a total income of approximately $24,338. In that
same nine-month period the library spent approximately
$22,413, leaving the library with roughly $1,900 to
fund the library.
The library is also expected to generate no revenue
for the months of April, May and June, according to
the report, and spend roughly $2,177 in the same time
frame. This would put the library in the hole $402 for
the year, the report stated.
However, Butler said the report does not take into
account donations that could come in during those three
months. She said during the month of May, the library
holds a silent and a live auction, all of which raised
$5,000 last year, she said.
"We don't have enough money to pay for June, but if
we get enough (during the fundraisers), and if the city
approves our budget, then we should have enough to take
us through the end of the year," she said.
While money is tight for the little library, Butler
said they are only temporarily closed, and should be
able to open up sometime in the near future.
But life at the Mendon Cottage Library didn't stop
just because they put a ‘closed' sign on the door. Butler
said library supporters are still offering donations,
Mendon residents are still returning books they'd rented,
and the library is still doing children story time,
a weekly program designed to support the youth in the
community, she said.
"We're at the point now that we could open up if we
wanted," she said. "We'll probably be back up and running
in the next two weeks."