January 23, 2013

Ringing in the New, Library Board Welcomes Six New Members

Six new members of the Board of Trustees of the Princeton Public Library took their seats as well as their oaths of office at the board’s first meeting of 2013 last week: Mayor Liz Lempert, Audrey Gould, Ruth Miller, Kevin Royer, Pamela Wakefield, and Barak Bar-Cohen.

In an orientation meeting before the public session, Library Director Leslie Burger introduced the new team to their duties and to the workings of the Library and its Board of Trustees, a group of nine: seven appointed by the mayor of Princeton and two designated by statute as the mayor and the superintendent of Princeton Public Schools or their designee.

In addition to Mayor Liz Lempert, schools’ representative Robert Ginsberg, and the new appointees, trustees for 2013 include returning members Kiki Jamieson and Andrew Erlichson.

Appointed board members serve five-year terms. The board also invites two teen liaisons to attend its meetings. The current teen representatives are Dylan Dorman Schroeder and Becca Breslaw, both seniors at Princeton High School.

Ms. Burger spoke briefly about the changing world of today’s libraries and the changing spaces therein.

The agenda for the public session included reports to the Board from Ms. Burger and President of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library Sherri Garber as well as the signing of a new document amending the Certificate of Incorporation. The Board voted on several resolutions including adoption of a temporary budget of $1,203,008 (based on the same period as last year) and unanimously approved the appointment of Kiki Jamieson as temporary Board president.

In her report, Ms. Burger thanked the Friends and the Library Foundation for their continued support. She spoke of the Princeton community’s generosity in response to the library’s annual appeal saying that many people were touched by the library’s response in the day’s following Superstorm Sandy and the community had been generous in their support.

As of January 10, Ms. Burger noted, the library had received 715 gifts totaling $132,120, a significant increase when compared to the figures of 703 gifts totaling $81,276 for the same period last year. The average gift in 2012-13 is $184 as compared to $115 in 2011-12. As before, appeal letters were sent to potential donors. This year saw the introduction of e-mail appeals through Constant Contact and a reminder in the Library’s e-newsletter. A grant of $26,000 to the Library Foundation was received from the Sutton Foundation for Preschool Literacy & You.

Ms. Burger also remarked on the health of the library’s endowment, now $10 million. The Board approved an endowment distribution gift of $412,523 which will be used for the materials budget (for which, said Ms. Burger, no tax monies are used, only private donations). The library’s director expressed the hope that the endowment will ultimately generate some half million dollars a year.

Ms. Garber reported that the Friends had donated $400,000 to the library in 2012, including some $108,000 from last year’s benefit event and $138,000 from the annual used book sale and the ongoing sale in the Friend’s Book Store. She described plans for upcoming events: three literary tours of New York City, a bus tour to Newark, and the benefit in October, which would present David Remnick in conversation with Paul Muldoon.

Due to the consolidation of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, the library had to re-incorporate using its new name. “One of the results of consolidation is that the library must re-file all its legal papers to reflect the change,” said Ms. Burger.

Formerly the “Joint Free Public Library of Princeton,” “joint’” indicating that it served both the Borough and the Township ( “an early example of consolidation,” said Ms. Burger), the document adopted the resolution that amends the original certificate of incorporation, changing the library’s name to simply “The Free Public Library.”

“With consolidation will there be any changes in library funding?” asked new member Audrey Gould. Well-placed to respond, Mayor Liz Lempert said that “everyone is under a two percent cap and there is an expectation that consolidation will result in savings. The costs of consolidation have been more than expected, but it’s a safe assumption that there would be continued funding.”

The board set the schedule of meetings for 2013 as follows: February 19, March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16, September 17, October 15, November 19 and December 17. Meetings are held in the library’s second floor meeting room on the third Tuesday of the month beginning at 5:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. The public and press are invited to attend.