Income tax check-off to benefit public libraries

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NORWAY – Patrons of public libraries will now be able to contribute funds through voluntary contributions on their income tax forms.

Starting with the 2012 Maine State Income Tax form, there will be a check-off for the Maine Public Library Fund, which will be administered by the Maine State Library and distributed to public libraries across the state through grants. The second session of the 125th Maine Legislature approved the voluntary contribution.

Norway Memorial Library Director Beth Kane said although the Norway library would not be guaranteed a specific percentage, any funds raised through the voluntary contributions would be distributed to public libraries throughout the state through a grant system. Priority for grants would be given to those that benefit all or a significant number of public libraries.

“I think of this as a way for the Maine State Library to continue to support Maine’s public libraries in bringing a wide variety of services to their communities that they couldn’t on their own,” Kane said this week.

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In the past, the public libraries have been able to offer such things as Maine InfoNet Download Library, a free downloadable audio and eBooks to participating library patrons, she said. Other offerings include MARVEL’s online library with 24/7 access to thousands of magazines, journals and online resources, and the statewide van that moves materials between libraries. Those services were funded by the Maine State Library.

“For most public libraries in Maine, offering any one of these services to the scale that we are able with the help of the Maine State Library, would be impossible,” she said.

According to a statement from the library, the fund has the potential to help public libraries in the Oxford Hills with new eBook content, interlibrary loan support, continuing education and other services.

Interested taxpayers can check #8 Maine Public Library Fund on Schedule CP to make a donation of $5 or more.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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