Sample Press Release

Voters will go to the polls on ____________ (date/time) to consider a referendum allowing the public library to form a special legislative district that provides residents with direct oversight of the library budget and board appointments.

If approved, the referendum will create a special library district in which residents will be able to vote annually on the library budget and trustee election. Currently, the library receives an appropriation designated by the town board in its annual budget. The town board also approves trustee appointments.

Since 1999, when the New York State Board of Regents formally adopted a policy encouraging libraries to undergo this process, more than 20 libraries in New York State have received approval from their constituents to convert to a special library district.

Statistics show that libraries that give voters the opportunity to vote directly on its budget and trustees are better funded than those that don’t. Public library districts typically provide more stable funding and are usually better-funded than libraries that are subject to appropriations levels set by its municipality. Well-funded libraries are better able to meet the needs of the community and are direct answerable to voters.

For some libraries, creation of a special district can eliminate instances where some of the population lives outside the library’s chartered service area, and so don’t pay taxes to support the library, but continue to use its services.

If the referendum is approved, voters will have the opportunity to elect trustees and vote on the library budget in May. A public information session will be held on ____________ to answer questions about the proposition and its impact on residents.

In the meantime, contact the library at ________ for more information.

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