The Lewisboro Library Board of Trustees began their meeting Wednesday by reviewing the library’s finances through August and briefly discussing the draft budget for 2021.

According to Treasurer Kevin Fitzmartin, the library’s income compared to this time last year is down by only $1,178 even though the town is withholding its funding for the library until November.

Mr. Fitzmartin said grants — specifically a loan obtained through the federal Payment Protection Program loan — have largely offset the factors hurting revenue. In addition to the delay in town funding, also down so far this year are gifts and contributions, as well as revenue from the cancelled annual library fair.

Board President Nancy Euchner said the board budgeted $60,000 for gifts and contributions this year, but the actual total to date is $28,000, a $32,000 shortfall.

In addition, Mr. Fitzmartin reported that library expenses are down compared to last year, with the exception of salary and payroll, which he attributed to pensions and health care costs.

Mr. Fitzmartin said that while the library is currently in good shape financially, there are still a lot of unknowns in the coming months. “Next month will be quite interesting,” Mr. Fitzmartin said.

The board moved on to discuss a preliminary draft budget for 2021. Ms. Euchner stated that the trustees are still unsure of how much funding the library will receive from the town in 2021, so the library must wait to learn more information about the town’s budget before proceeding.

The library plans to lower its forecast from all revenue sources in the 2021 budget due to pandemic-related circumstances. Expense targets are uncertain at this point, as discussions about personnel and payroll are ongoing. At this early stage, the library is projecting  an overall loss of $79,000 next year, which could be mitigated by a successful library fair in 2021.

The board is planning to present its 2021 budget to the town board at an upcoming meeting.

Library Director Cynthia Rubino presented to the board August statistics for curbside pickup, in-person browsing and the use of other library amenities.

Ms. Rubino said residents made 467 curbside pickup appointments in August, which is down from 529 in July. The drop was most likely caused by the days when the library closed due to having no power, she noted. While curbside appointments are down, in-person browsing appointments have doubled since last month, with 131 in July and 272 in August. Appointments for public computers also increased from 27 to 44 in August.

Ms. Rubino said virtual programming in August was slightly down from July, which is due to a drop in the number of children’s programs that took place. The use of the library’s digital content that is offered to library patrons dropped slightly as well. The use of Overdrive, for eBooks and audiobooks, dropped 15% compared to July and the use of Hoopla, for eBooks, audiobooks, music, television and movies, dropped 14%. However, digital content use is still up by at least 65% from last year, she added.

Ms. Rubino also discussed the recent changes in the library since Labor Day. She said they have increased public access by opening up the children’s room, which had been closed since March. The room will be open for families and elementary school pods by appointment only. Ms. Rubino said several families already have arranged visits to the children’s room.

In addition, Ms. Rubino said the library is now offering study appointments for high school, college and adult learners, but have yet to receive any bookings.

The library has also begun experimenting with some extremely limited in-person events. Ms. Rubino said a staff member held a teen yoga class on the front lawn of the library, which was well attended, and another is planned later this month. Ms. Rubino also mentioned that the League of Women Voters will set up a voter registration table at the library Thursday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Beginning this week, the library introduced new hours of operation. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It remains closed on Sundays.

Jessica Leibman is a staff reporter at The Record-Review where she covers the Town of Lewisboro the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

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