Trustees, others make case for funds from city

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Brown Library trustees and Friends of the Brown Library members, during the City Council’s public hearing on the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, made their case for not reducing the library’s funding in the proposed city budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Three of the four speakers during that hearing voiced their support for proposed funding for the library. They included Steve Moler, chairman of the Brown Library Board of Trustees; Katie Lake, president of Friends of the Brown Library; and Rick Gagliano, a library trustee.

“Our library, your library has been a fabric in our community for over a hundred years,” Moler said, noting the Washington Public Library began in 1911, changing its name to the George E. and Laura H. Brown Library in the 1940s.

“Today, trends show that libraries are changing. They’re having to meet new challenges in technology and outreach programs are becoming totally entwined with in the fabric of this community,” Moler said. “Last year, our library recorded about 96,000 people going through the front doors of the library. We also have 17,000 people who are library cardholders. As these numbers increase, the need for trained personnel, special equipment and a constant source of revenue is more important than they ever have been. This is where you folks on the City Council play the most important role in the whole operation of the library. Budgeting enough money to maintain the level of service that you expect us to continually deliver to the citizens of this community is critical.”

Moler said the money budgeted for the library in the upcoming fiscal year would allow the library to continue its current level of service.

Moler said the library trustees, Friends of the Brown Library and library patrons believe it’s time to begin the “conversation” about expanding the library in three to four years. Moler said paying for that expansion would cost from $2 million to $3 million.

“The Friends of the Brown Library have already started setting monies aside from their annual book sales and from other sources … to help with this issue when it comes up,” he said, adding the Board of Trustees is developing fundraising strategies to help pay for the expansion.

Lake said she and other Friends of the Brown Library members attended the hearing to show their support for the proposed budget for the library in the upcoming fiscal year. Lake said the personnel changes included in the proposed budget would help improve the library’s outreach programs.

Gagliano asked the council to approve funding for the library at the amount included in the proposed budget and support the library’s expansion plan.

For additional coverage of the council’s budget hearing, see future editions of the Daily News.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike