BHML seeks slight increase in funding

18:1 ratio on services
Posted:  Monday, April 15, 2019 - 8:00am
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With budget season coming to an end and many nonprofits requesting funding from towns, Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library is busy showcasing its expanding services.

“We have a modest budget and the services we provide I would say are pretty impressive based on the amount of staff we have,” said BHML Executive Director Joanna Breen.

BHML is asking both Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor for $54,000 each – a $2,000 increase and $1,500 increase, respectively. Because BHML is a nonprofit, about 30 percent of its funding comes from the towns, Breen said. The rest comes from operations, grant writing and fundraising.

According to 2017 numbers, every dollar was yielding about $18 in value from services and programs, she said. “I'm sure our value has gone up.”

Over the last year, BHML processed nearly 30,000 items besides e-services like e-books and audio books. Every item is found, shipped in and delivered by the staff and then shelved or shipped back out when returned.

“There's actually a lot of manual labor involved, and we’re grateful to have volunteers who help us out with a lot of that,” Breen said.

2018 was the first time the library has been fully staffed since Breen started there in 2015. After snine months at two-and-a-half staff members, BHML has been well on track to maximize its services to all community members, said Breen. BHML puts on eight large community events: Earth Day, Windjammer for Wee Mateys and Summer Kickoff, Books in Boothbay at Boothbay Railway Village, Movies on the Lawn, Storytime Picnic at Clifford Park, Ice Cream Social for BHML donors, the Halloween Parade, and Santa at the Library.

BHML also has year round programs during the week like Minecraft Club and Math Counts (with Boothbay Region Elementary School) and a PJ Storytime on Wednesdays, Friday storytimes and stories on demand on Saturdays. Adults can look forward to Monday Night Book Group, I Love a Mystery Group, and one-on-one tech help. Seniors enjoy a Books and Bites event at St. Andrews Village.

As a public space, the library offers a long list of services like public computers, WiFi access, mobile charging, arts shows, working space, a telescope, GoPros, museum passes and homebound delivery to name just a few.

“At $18 of services for every dollar, it's a pretty big bang for the buck I would say,” Breen said. “As far as the town appropriations go – we're really grateful for them.”

The requested increase is about 3.8 and 2.9 percent respectively for Boothbay and Boothbay Harbor.  Said Breen, “By getting more dollars from the town, that's more time we can just spend delivering services to people and less time asking for their support.”