MAYFIELD - The town will attempt to gauge in the coming months whether town residents' interest in using the Gloversville Public Library should merit a significant donation to support it.
The library recently instituted a policy that restricts use for cardholders who live in municipalities that do not contribute to public libraries. Mayfield is one of those municipalities.
The Town Board decided in November not to donate the $16,000 the library had requested, since its 2009 budget had already been set. In a letter sent earlier this month, the library is now requesting $27,500 from the town for next year, and town Supervisor Richard Argotsinger said he is unsure whether there is enough interest within the town to justify such a donation.
Because of that, the town has tasked Councilwoman Kathy Sieg with investigating whether residents feel it is necessary for the town to support the library. Sieg will report back at the town's next meeting Sept. 17 with information about how many of the town's cardholders actively use the Gloversville library.
"[It will] just give us a better feel as to whether we can justify making a donation of this amount or any amount," Argotsinger said.
The Mayfield Central School District's library is open to the community, though it is not funded by the town.
Gloversville Public Library Director Barbara Madonna said there are 724 cardholders in the town of Mayfield. Argotsinger said he is surprised the number is so high.
"We just find it a little bit hard to believe that there's 700 cardholders from the town of Mayfield," he said.
To be considered cardholders, people do not necessarily need to actively use the library-it only means they have registered to use the facility in the past three years.
Broadalbin officials said it is unlikely the town will donate to the library, even though the library will also now limit its residents' use. The library has requested $9,600 from the town of Broadalbin for next year, according to Supervisor Lee Hollenbeck.
"What people don't realize is people are in their own town. The economy is not good. People are struggling," Hollenbeck said. "We can't afford to help the library in Gloversville and put a tax on our residents here."
Madonna said there are 255 cardholders in Broadalbin.
"There's 3,400 property owners," Hollenbeck said. "I don't believe the other 3,200 property owners will be happy with this."
Madonna said if a given town decides it cannot pay the full amount requested, the library is "open to negotiation."
The other municipalities where residents will receive limited access privileges include Ephratah, Oppenheim, Perth and Stratford. According to Madonna, there are 30 cardholders in Ephratah, 10 in Oppenheim, 73 in Perth and 14 in Stratford.
Zach Subar covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.