At the request of Orangetown Supervisor Chris Day, Palisades Free Library Trustees are exploring the idea of forming a special district library with Tappan and Orangeburg Libraries. This may provide greater long-term financial security for our library. As a special district library, the three library buildings would become branches managed by a single board of trustees with a single budget. Please know that we are at the beginning of this inquiry. No change is imminent.

Currently, as an association library, our funding is determined annually by the five Orangetown Town Board members. Special district libraries present their budgets directly to the voters for approval and can bond for major capital expenditures. Association libraries cannot do either.

Over the last decade, funding from the Town Board has fallen from comprising 89% of our revenues in 2011 to 75% of budgeted (adopted) revenues in 2019. We have worked with Director Maria Gagliardi to be diligent financial stewards for our library seeking budget efficiencies, pursuing grants and relying on our reserves to cover shortfalls. However, these aren’t sustainable solutions for preserving our building and maintaining quality services, so we need to explore options for the future

We plan to engage Pattern for Progress to conduct a study of the efficiencies and challenges of establishing a special district library, and we will share the results with the public. In the event the trustees decide to move forward it will be a lengthy process, but in the end our community will vote on the issue, having the final say on whether or not to form the special district.

The library trustees would like to hear from residents with concerns or questions. Meetings are open to the public or feel free to contact the director or a trustee.