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County Librarian Holly Albanese and Flagler County Library board of trustees chairman Jim Ulsamer address the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners Monday, Nov. 18. (Photo by Shanna Fortier.)
Palm Coast Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 8 years ago

County approves library plan for state funding

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by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Flagler County Library board of trustees chairman Jim Ulsamer spoke to the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners Monday, urging the board to make library spending a priority.

During a presentation of the library’s plan of service for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, required for the State Aid to Libraries grant, Ulsamer compared spending on proposed library expansion to spending on the county jail.

“We need to maintain some balance in how we support our institutions,” he said. “I’d submit that when planning expenditures for the library and the jail, having more of one might lead to one day needing less of the other.”

Both projects are eligible for money from the county's half-cent sales tax.

The county’s growth has far exceeded the library’s, Ulsamer added, and the change has caused problems.

When 275 school children came to the library for a presentation during the summer, he said, the library was so cramped that the staff had to pull out all of the furniture.

There are now more library cardholders in Flagler County than there were people in Flagler County when the library first opened, Ulsamer said.

“When the library opened in 2000, there were 49,000 people in the county. Now, there are 98,000 people,” he said. “The library has 55,000 cardholders.”

Neighboring counties, he said, also have more library space than Flagler.

County Librarian Holly Albanese said the library would like to add scanning and color printing, as well as install vending machines.

The library also recently expended its evening hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Ulsamer said.

“We’re going to keep the library doors open every week till 8 p.m. so that people who work fulltime during the day can come here at night with their families,” he said.

The library’s total 2013-2014 budget is $1,222,195, Albanese said. Of that money, $1,167,152 is slated for the main branch, and $55,0143 for the Bunnell branch. Some of it will be set aside this year for a new roof at the main branch.

The Flagler County Library’s budget has been reduced from $1.5 million to about $900,000 over the past five years, largely as a result of state spending cuts.

The county has stepped in to make up some of that money, Albanese said, and another chunk of income  — about $60,000 last year — has come from money the library makes processing passports and taking passport photos.

The board unanimously approved the library’s plan of service.

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