Scranton library taking shape despite budget cut
By MAKAYLA TENDALL
Donations received through the will of a former Scranton resident will allow the Scranton public library to open its new building by late June, despite a budget reduction of over $12,000.
Money to fund and maintain a new library building was left to the library board 10 years ago in Frank Marchant’s will.
Librarian Maggi Abernathy said the money has been accumulating interest all this time, but she declined to share the exact amount of money left in the will.
Despite the plans, the library’s budget for fiscal year 2015 has been reduced $12,000 from its proposed budget.
The budget is what the city approves the library to spend, not the funding the city provides the library board of directors, said Scranton City Clerk Melinda Hinners.
Hinners said the board of directors initially asked the city to approve a $40,000 budget for 2015.
“Their original budget of $40,000 was in hopes that the city would give them way more money than we did last year,” Hinners said. “The council said no we’re not going to give you more money. We’re actually going to give you $3,000 less.”
Hinners said that the city council denied the $40,000 request for spending.
Instead, they looked at the 2014 budget and reduced it $3,000 for the library to spend in 2015.
“I don’t think the library board’s ever been able to quite figure out exactly why they did it,” Abernathy said.
There are a variety of reasons why the budget was reduced, including the fact that the library did not stick to a strict budget the previous year, Hinners said.
“The city is having to watch its bottom line due to property tax reform, which has decreased money to the city,” Hinners cited as another reason for the reduced budget.
The library then reduced its request from $40,000 to $26,084 that they would be allowed to spend during 2015.
Hinners said the council approved that, but left them room to spend almost another $9,000 over the year. The library would be able to spend the extra $9,000 if it was raised through fundraisers or grants.
The library received enough money from Marchant to fund construction of the new facility.
The new building is two doors down from the current location and 24,000 square feet. The design will feature an open concept better suited for gatherings and programs, Abernathy said.
A corner fireplace was donated by the former director of the library, in addition to three computers for kids and two for adults. Children’s books will be held on casters so they can easily be moved out of the center of a room during programs.
The opening ceremony will take place in early July with 4-H and community members carrying books, bucket-brigade style, across the sidewalk to the new building.
Abernathy said Scranton residents are excited for the new opening.
“It’s been going on for so long, now they just want to see it done.”