Farmington Public Library (Ann Bryant/Franklin Journal)

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Public Library is seeking $199,409 from the town, $3,380 more than last year’s appropriation.

Barbara Marshall, library board chairwoman, and Benjamin West, library treasurer, presented their request to the Budget Committee Wednesday.

The Budget Committee and selectmen are expected to make their final recommendations on the budget this month.

The budget is decided by voters at the annual town meeting March 26.

The library’s budget is $267,000, with the rest coming from a combination of endowment funds, circulation income, donations and fundraising. The town has traditionally appropriated money for personnel costs.

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Salaries paid to library employees are extremely conservative but library officials are aware of what the town can afford, Marshall said.

Board members are volunteering at the library while they seek a new director. They said they are amazed at how many resident come to the library.

“It is a key part of town worth investing in,” Marshall said.

Over the past year, after some selectmen questioned the library’s ability to raise money for its expenses, the board and donors showed their support. 

Matiana Glass organized monthly art shows and auctions, raising $1,000. A Go Fund Me event raised another $950. Juanita Bean Smith, a former board member, went to area businesses and raised $1,500. Children held bake sales at the library and silent auctions were among other fundraising activities.

When the library needed a new furnace and was offered a better price during the off-season, donors met a challenge made by the Marshall family.  

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Grants of $50,000 and $4,000 were received, West said. The library raised about $80,000 this year, he added.

One committee member said he didn’t consider grants fundraisers.

West said $28,000 was raised besides grants.

Some increases addressed in the budget, West said, include electricity costs after planned heat pumps are installed and the start of a building capital fund. The fund would provide for maintaining the aging building and for unforeseen expenses, he said.

An audit is needed at an estimated cost of $5,000. Applications for grants require regular audits, he said. 

The minimum wage increase affects the budget and the board seeks to start a retirement plan for employees at a cost of $4,460. Every 2 or 3 percent the employee invests would be matched by the library, he said.

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