GREENBURGH, NY (WCBS 880) – Storytime is wildly popular at the Greenburgh Public Library. Unfortunately, this year, there will be no new books to read because of New York State’s new 2 percent tax cap.
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“The town was not willing to override the tax cap and the library had to take a major hit, losing 18 percent of our appropriation – $570,000. It was really really difficult for the town. They didn’t have a lot of choices. Unfortunately, the library was the biggest victim,” said library director Jeanie Contrata. “It’s a major sacrifice, and it’s really a crime.”
She purchased 9,000 items last year. This year – zero.
“It’s books. It’s DVDs. It’s audiobooks. It’s music CDs. The other thing we had to cut was a service called tutor.com,” she said.
That means no new bestsellers and no new editions of classics.
“Children’s books never go out of style. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” – you’re buying a couple of copies every year because they get worn out. So, you always have to replace Dr. Seuss,” she said.
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Jason Tiken and his 2-year-old son Robert rely on the Greenburgh Public Library.
“You want to get your kids the best, you know. And the library allows you to do that, and in this economy, you can do it and it’s affordable. And, if you’re not getting new stuff, that’s a huge hit,” he said.
It pained Greenburgh town supervisor Paul Feiner to slash the library budget.
“I want to organize, or help organize, major fundraising initiatives,” he said.
Contrata hopes the tax cap law can be amended.
“The tax cap was meant to be a positive, but it did have a downside and we are the example of the downside – no new materials,” she said.
The tax cap was intended to help homeowners, to reign in skyrocketing property taxes, but if you ask library patrons, they are willing to pay a little extra.
“I know times are tough all over, but you have to invest in the kids and something like, you know, getting new books, getting the most up-to-date stuff for the library, that’s a huge investment in your children,” said Tiken.
There is an emergency meeting at Greenburgh town hall Monday at 8 p.m. to discuss raising funds for the library.