At the Board’s request the Cluster Heads, now called Facilitators, led the staff in a self study of library services and procedures. The report was presented to the Board at their April meeting.
Then, four months after the defeat of the expansion referendum, the Board presented its $2,790,598 operating budget to the public. This represented only a 1.6 per cent increase over the budget of the previous year. However, negative feelings still were evident in the community. According to The Review about forty to fifty people attended the public hearing on March 27. This was unusual as virtually no one had attended the hearings in past years.
And the budget was defeated…by a vote of 3:1. The actual count was 1221 “no” votes and 441 “yes” votes. The mood of the Board and staff had been somber before, but now it was worse. Nevertheless quality programming continued and the staff continued to offer good service to the public.
Due to a job description interpretation by Civil Service the Board requested that the two Librarian Assistants be removed from reference desk duty. This brought about a severe shortage in staffing the desk telephone reference was suspended on March 31st. (It did not get reinstated until September 1998).
Computers were proving to be very popular and an Internet for Seniors program was launched on April 25. Its purpose was to help people learn more about the Internet and web surfing. Jean Armour Polly, a former assistant director of the library and now author of The Internet Kids’ Yellow Pages spoke about families using the Internet.
A Silent Celebrity Auction was held in the library throughout the month of April. Several local authors donated autographed scripts and books for the event. The Syracuse Crunch donated an autographed photo. Proceeds were used to buy materials and equipment for the Library.
On May 15 a Special Board meeting was held at which the Board made decisions on what services to cut in order to stay within the dollar amount of the budget figure they had to work with. As a result they decided on the following: there would be no salary increase for the staff; the increment for Department Heads would be postponed; the library would close on Friday evenings effective July 1; the discontinuation of telephone reference would be extended through 1996-97; the job freeze would continue and the electric power budget line would be increased.
The county library system finally purchased an electronic catalog and DYNIX was introduced first to the staff and then to the public on July 8. The library closed for two mornings in June so that staff could undergo intensive training on the new system.
A community effort to turn the vacant lot adjacent to the library into something more useful and aesthetically pleasing succeeded when local businessman Val Lamont and Fred Elkins, president of Liverpool Citizens for Quality Education, got involved with the project. The land was leveled off and grass seed planted in a 40’ x 40’ plot. Next , Mike Gridley, a Liverpool resident and graduate landscape architecture student from State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry, prepared three designs for a garden (as part of his Master’s thesis). Children were then asked to vote for their favorite: ancient, shape of beans growing in a pod, or shape of sunflower with its petals radiating out from the center. The Ancient garden design garnered 151 votes of the 400 that were cast. The Sunflower plan received 133 votes and the Bean plan received 111.
Summer programs for children included a baseball card swap, crafty puppets program, StoryTimes, and the ever popular Summerbus! The Library also participated in the Summer Reading Game sponsored by the Onondaga County Public Library System. For adults the library offered its book discussion group, After Dinner Books and the two day Art in the Park.
The library received a New York State Parent and Child grant of $7780 for two computers , a printer and furniture for the Children’s Room. Money was also allotted for software and books. In addition Price Chopper Corporation donated four tables which held the computers.
At the July Board meeting Dr. Thomas J. Wells was reelected President, Joseph Ostuni, Vice President and George Alessio, Secretary. Larry Dunstone was reappointed Financial Officer.
By early September the Official Home Page of the Liverpool Public Library was born. www.lpl.org was the official URL. Content of the multipage site included a description of the various departments of the library, information about the Board of Trustees and information about the various collections and services offered.
In October the Windhammer vocal jazz group opened the Sunday afternoon Concert Series. Later that month Liverpool resident Marylee Armour talked about her book “Heartwood,” a biography of W. Donald Burnap of the Adirondacks. Over one hundred people attended her presentation!
Also in October the Department Heads and the Trustees gathered at Arrowhead Lodge for a one day retreat. At the end of the month Susan Mills, Head of the Audio Visual Department retired.
Before the end of the year the Trustees voted to improve the elevator entryway, repair the public elevator itself and repair the stone steps on the Tulip Street side. Fines on overdue videos were reduced to twenty cents per day in order to bring the library into conformity with other libraries in the system.
The 1996 Merit Award winners were Jeanne Biggins, Head of Technical Services, Rick Fensterer, Head of Electronic Communications, and Pam Sprague, Head of Circulation Services.