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Emma Clark Library 2024 budget

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The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Elyse Sutton

By Nasrin Zahed

The Emma S. Clark Memorial Library held its annual budget vote on Wednesday, Sept. 20, with the Three Village community overwhelmingly supporting the measure, 437-74.

The proposed budget plan outlines continued expenses, such as employee salaries and mandated benefits, while highlighting the library’s plans to expand resources to the community and become a more central local hub.

The proposed $5,726,582 fiscal year budget is $88,526 more than the previous years, with a 1.57% tax levy increase.

Lisa DeVerna, the library’s marketing communications manager, expressed the library’s delight at the public support. “We were very pleased with the outcome,” she said in an email. “Eighty-six percent of voters supported the budget, which is comparable to years past.”

DeVerna outlined some of the big projects the library brought to fruition this year, such as the completed construction project to improve the flow of the main reading room.

“We now have a better delineation between the quiet and lively areas,” DeVerna said, offering more structure to the layout of the space and allowing patrons to enjoy public events and activities without infringing on the sanctity of the popular study spot.

The communications manager expanded on the library’s current café project, which is still under construction, giving assurances that the space would be open to the public soon.

The library is also revamping the Children’s Department by adding new toys and play sets. “These projects are helping make the library even more of a community center than it was before, inviting those to come and stay for a while and meeting the different needs of our various constituents,” DeVerna said.

The library will also go beyond Setauket residence by purchasing museum passes for patrons to borrow out through their unique Library of Things collection.

Passes to the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in Manhattan, as well as the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, are currently available. The Library of Things also lets patrons sign out many items such as cameras, telescopes, projectors and more.

DeVerna shared how library staff are working toward catering to community youth by developing a separate Teen Services Department. The separation has “allowed us to build more robust programming, particularly year-round volunteer opportunities for teens, who are always looking for more community service hours,” DeVerna said.

With hopes of redesigning the layout and flow of the Children’s Library and increasing investments into existing programs, DeVerna outlined that “in general, we are concentrating on programming next year and have increased the budget of the program by $15,000.” Yet, the budget keeps flowing as DeVerna emphasized that the library is also looking to widen adult opportunities.

“For adults, we’re expanding the scope of our technology classes in 2024, including an advanced Excel class and more of an emphasis on the Cricut cutting machine due to the demand for such programming,” she said. 

As the library has typically catered to classes at the beginner level, this allows patrons to refine and expand on the basics that they have already learned.

With the budget’s passage, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library leaders aim for the library to remain a staple of the Three Village area through its new programs, spaces and interests for its neighbors.