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Sanibel library board approves millage, budget


PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Public Library

The Sanibel Public Library District’s Board of Commissioners approved an annual budget of $2,357,050 for fiscal year 2020-21 at a public hearing on Sept. 17.

The proceeds from the millage are used to fund general library operations and services. The board voted to hold the millage of 0.435 at the same rate as the 2019-20 fiscal year, which is greater than the rollback rate of 0.4256 by 2.1 percent. The total budget, including gifts and grants, is $2,445,881.

“These funds will be used for programs and services, staffing, library collections, facilities and technology,” Commissioner Melanie Congress, chair of the board, said. “A portion of the budget will go toward replenishing library reserves, so that in 20 years or so there will be funds for the next refurbishment, following the Your Library Reimagined major upgrade a few years ago.”

“Total collections for print and digital are budgeted at $172,800, a slight increase over the current year,” she added. “Downloading and streaming are very popular among users here and nationally, but print still remains at the top.”

The Sanibel Public Library collection focuses on new and bestselling fiction and nonfiction, as well as subjects of particular interest to islanders, including history, travel, lifestyle such as cooking, decorating and gardening, health, biographies and current events.

“As library commissioners, our job is to provide due diligence and ensure our tax investment is being well-spent, and we continually monitor expenses,” Treasurer Linda Estep said. “We maintain and expand services and look for efficiencies in all areas, particularly in technology and utilities.”

The library has remained operational during the coronavirus pandemic by offering 24/7 download and streaming services, as well as providing assistance via telephone and e-mail regarding readers’ advisory, Web site assistance and more. After the state’s stay-at-home mandate at the end of April, the building reopened to the public in early June, closing briefly in August for a deep cleaning.

The library is following the safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida government, and public library national standard practices.

“The library put into place contact-free curbside pickup service so users could comfortably pick up their print books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and more while practicing social distancing,” Library Adult Services Coordinator Candy Heise said. “This service is working very well.”

The Sanibel Public Library District is an independent special district serving Sanibel with a publicly-elected board of seven members. The library ranks at or near the top among all Florida public libraries for checkouts, visits, program attendance, Internet use and more, and it is regularly awarded high rankings among the 9,000-plus public library systems in America.

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit online at www.sanlib.org.