Middle Country library proposes budget under cap

Middle Country library proposes budget under cap

New programs and services included in $15.2 million plan

Library visitors do work at the Middle Country Public Library’s Centereach location. File photo by Barbara Donlon

An average Middle Country resident will see an increase of less than a dollar a month under the Middle Country Public Library’s proposed $15.2 million 2015-16 budget.

An average homeowner with an assessed value of $3,000 will pay $0.93 extra per month, according to the library’s spring newsletter. The budget increases by 1.4 percent over the current year and stays within the library’s tax levy increase cap.

Under the plan, the library will offer a 3D printing service. Adults can put in a request to use the printer, while children can utilize the device under the supervision of a staff member.

Outdoor games for adults are also available. Games such as Jenga and lawn bowling can be rented for seven days at a time.

“We thought this could be fun for adults,” library Director Sophia Serlis-McPhillips said. “They can now check it out instead of buying it.”

In addition, the library is working to get its Music and Memory program off the ground. The program is catered toward people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Program participants will listen to music via iPods to help jog memories and improve their quality of life.

Serlis-McPhillips also noted that the notary service offered at the library’s Centereach location would expand to the Selden location in May.

“We can now offer it to our patrons in that neck of the woods,” Serlis-McPhillips said.

The children’s department will also see new things. The museum pass program is set to expand, and starting next year, tickets to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan will be offered.

In addition, a new initiative called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten will commence in September. With the goal of getting kids to read 1,000 books by the time they enter kindergarten, young kids will take home backpacks filled with 10 books at a time. Participants will receive an incentive for every 100 books they read. There will also be new resources for the adult and children sections. Two new child-friendly databases called ScienceFlix and FreedomFlix, which specialize in science and American history, respectively, will be available.

For adults, a new program called hoopla, which Serlis-McPhillips called “very popular,” will be available for adults to download movies and books.

The library will continue to expand access to downloadable e-books.

“There’s been an increase in circulation for downloadable [books] instead of print,” Serlis-McPhillips said.

Despite the change, the director said as long as people continue to read, that is all that matters.
Middle Country Public Library Board of Trustees President John Hoctor said he is pleased at the work the library does every year.

“Middle Country is always on the cusp,” Hoctor said. “They are the leader in the field.”

Hoctor’s deep love for libraries is why he sits on the board. He said every time he visits the library he get’s a sense of joy.

“One of the things I love about our library are the programs for children,” he said.

The library budget vote and trustee election will take place April 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Centereach building. Incumbent Trustee Jacqueline Schott is running for re-election unopposed. She was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening.

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