The referendum on the Election Day ballot to make improvements and create an addition to the Brewster Public Library that would double the size of the building was discussed at the Oct. 5 Southeast Town Board meeting.
The library is seeking to borrow up to $2,938,000 to finance the project. Over the course of a 25-year bond, the cost to the average homeowner would be about $24 a year, according to library officials.
The proposed expansion of less than 5,000 square feet would include a community room to accommodate up to 50 people, private study rooms, and an ADA compliant elevator and restrooms. The library would retain its historic façade of the building and the main reading room.
Paul Mays, principal of Butler, Roland, Mays Architects, a firm that has been hired by the library, told the town board last week the library dates back to the 1930’s. The major part of the proposal is to add an addition to the library, he said.
Mays said the library has had a significant increase in usage by residents in recent years. In 2016, 49,155 units were borrowed, an increase of 10 percent over the previous years, he said.
Wi-Fi usage at the library increased by 119 percent in 2016 over the previous year, Mays said.
Mays said several groups and organizations want to use the library for their programs, but the facility does not always have space available. Part of the project is to construct a 50-seat multi-purpose room that can be used for program during library operating hours and after it is closed for the day, he said.
Councilwoman Lynne Eckardt said the town board provides the library with $320,000 annually and she asked what the effect would be if the referendum was approved by voters. Library Director Gina Loprinzo said she did not anticipate the library seeing any additional payment from the town board. The amount provided by the town has not increased over the past roughly seven years, Loprinzo said.
The library does not anticipate increasing the size of its staff if the proposal is approved by voters. Residents can attend another informational session on Oct. 19 at the library at 10 a.m.