MASSENA - Massena Public Library officials plan to present a 2014 budget proposal to the Massena Town Board that asks for the restoration of a full-time youth services librarian.
The position, which is currently filled by Samantha Page, is part-time for 30 hours a week. But library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer, who had been the full-time youth services librarian until her appointment as library director said its difficult to find someone to fill a part-time role and manage all the childrens activities.
They (librarys Board of Trustees) would like to restore that to a full-time position. Weve gone a full year with it being a part-time position, she said.
As a part-time position, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said they have had difficulty hanging on to people who move on to full-time positions elsewhere.
Its very rare that we get a person working part-time with no benefits. Thats one of the reasons, she said.
With a full-time person on the staff, the childrens room would also be supervised during the day, according to Ms. Dunne-Thayer.
I think it would affect circulation in a positive manner and would free up Samantha to concentrate on other duties, such as arranging childrens programming, she said.
As a part-time employee, the position costs $31,096.79 - 30 hours a week with an hourly salary of $15.73. That cost includes the $24,538.80 salary, $1,521.41 FICA payment, $355.81 Medicare payment and $4,680.77 for retirement.
A full-time position would cost $60,535.51, which includes an hourly salary of $15.73 or $32,718.40 annually, a $2,028.54 FICA payment, $408.98 Medicare payment, $6,241.03 for retirement and $19,138.56 for health insurance.
Ms. Dunne-Thayer said that theyve made do with not just a part-time youth librarian, but also the elimination of a clerk position.
We also had a clerk position eliminated last year. That was a position-and-a-half eliminated. Were still open the same amount of hours. Weve managed to do more with less. I think weve done a good job with it, she said.
In their budget proposal for 2014, library officials anticipate $712,875 in expenses, but that does not include transitioning the youth services librarian to a full-time position. They anticipate $277,623 for salaries, $61,377 for retirement, $15,692 for Social Security, $3,670 for Medicare, $5,064 for workers compensation and $207,349 for hospitalization.
The majority of those personnel costs are out of the librarys control, according to Ms. Dunne-Thayer.
For materials, theyre requesting $4,000 for equipment, $50,000 for resources and $20,000 for supplies.
Ms. Dunne-Thayer said part of the equipment budget, which will be double the $2,000 in their 2013 budget, is because of the need to upgrade Microsoft products in their computer lab. They also need to begin looking at replacing some of the units, which she said are at the point that the North Country Library System can no longer service them.
Many computers are aging out and becoming problematic and need to be fixed, she said.
Theyre requesting a $5,000 increase in resources to cover their book budget and contributions toward e-books and e-magazines, according to the library director. But that budget has shrunk over the years.
Historically weve had book budgets over $60,000 in the past. Weve cut progressively over the years, she said.
Their 2014 budget proposal will also request a $10,000 increase for maintenance, from $53,100 to $63,100, but no increase in building projects, which was $10,000 in their 2013 spending plan.
Ms. Dunne-Thayer said theyve tried to watch their costs as budgets shrink, including their summer reading program.
With any type of program over the summer, weve made sure we had an outside firm or agency pay the cost. We are very careful with that. For the most part our presentations to the public are down because we cant afford it, she said.
Ms. Dunne-Thayer had presented library board members with three budget scenarios this week, and the board members said the bottom line was maintaining services for the public. If their funding is cut, one of their options is to limit their hours of operation, which are 54 during the winter season. The state Education Department requires that they be open a minimum of 35 hours a week.
Any loss of hours would also have an impact on part-time employees at the library, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.
We have to go in with a realistic budget. We have to tell them, To stay open and keep stuff this is what we need, board member John Jack Bain said.