The Prendergast Library board has cancelled its meeting for Thursday due to a lack of a quorum. The meeting will not be rescheduled. Instead the board will resume discussing its budget during its next regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 17, 2015 at 12:15.
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JAMESTOWN – The Prendegast Library Board of Trustees
will hold its has cancelled its November meeting Thursday afternoon due to a lack of a quorum. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 17 at 12:15 p.m.
The board is wrestling with a budget deficit for not only this year, but also for the upcoming year. To deal with the shortfall, the board has already made the decision to cut at least one full time position and also reduce its hours of operation, with it no longer being open on Sundays. The library is also awaiting the finalization of the 2016 Jamestown City Budget so it knows exactly how much funding it will receive from the city next year.
This year the city gave the library $365,000 – but Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi has called for a $15,000 cut for next year. The Jamestown City Council has yet to decide if it will go with the cut or reduce funding even further. With the city facing its own budget shortfall, it’s unlikely any of the library funding will be restored.
Earlier this week, the city council met with Library Director Tina Scott to learn more about the library’s services and operating deficit. One of the questions brought forward was fundraising, with city council president Greg Rabb asking why there was a significant drop in public donations in recent years. Scott and library trustee Joni Blackman explained that patron donations have gone down over time primarily because younger patrons are not donating at the same level as their senior counterparts. They also acknowledged that the public’s disappointment with previous library director Linda Mielke has also played a role in a decline in donations.
FATE OF ART COLLECTION STILL NOT KNOWN
The library board during its December meeting may also provide an update on its art collection, which is worth more than $3 million. The board is considering auctioning off some of the collection in order to raise funding for its endowment, which can then be used to help offset any operating deficits in future years.It has already approved a contract with Sotheby’s to be the agency to assist with selling the paintings, should they be deaccessioned.
The proposal to sell off some of the art collection has been met with resistance from some members of the community, who would prefer the collection remain in tact, rather than sold at auction. Houston businessman Jesse Marion and his wife Cathy Marion – a Jamestown native – have offered to provide funding to pay for the cost of restoring and exhibiting the collection. Library board president Tom Rankin said last month they will discuss that proposal further.
Thursday’s library board meeting begins at 12:15 p.m. in the library Fireplace Room and is open to the public.