On behalf of the Board of Trustees of The Lenox Library, thank you to the Lenox Board of Selectmen and the Lenox voters at town meeting, for the library’s first increase to its operating budget in ten years.  The proposed appropriation represents an increase of $5,000, a 2.17 % increase over the current fiscal year.  Although $235,000 falls short of the state requirement by $6,867, the amount falls within the percentage increases to be appropriated for other town services, and we should be able to write in for a waiver from the state again in the coming year.

This is not to say that all is rosy, however.  Because the selectmen’s recommendation represents $10,000 less than the library’s proposal, we will be cutting our purchase of new titles to below FY2010 levels.  We have cut our expense accounts for programming and fundraising to zero, at the same time that fundraising will be more important than ever.

Donations will enable us to continue to provide equal access to all for our materials, programs, and personal services.  People use our library to look for jobs and fill out job applications, get help using the internet, and learn about the issues of our time.  They also use us for free access to millions of books, CDs, videos, and articles.  Now more than ever, we will need an informed citizenry to help us keep Lenox strong.  The library can help.

It is my hope that we will continue to strengthen the partnership between town government and its library.  We will continue to partner with the Chamber and other town organizations.  And we will continue to bring tens of thousands of residents and visitors to the downtown as we always have, knowing that this contributes to the educational and economic health of the community.  As one woman, a patron of the library for nearly 40 years, wrote us, “This library remains a place in which people can take refuge from the stress and storms of a too-busy world, a place that celebrates the human mind and spirit.”

We look forward to continuing to serve as your town library.