In response to Milford Public Library Director Jean Tsang’s request for a $1.059 million dollar budget for 2012-13, Mayor Ben Blake and the Finance Board of Milford have recommended a $1.026 million dollar budget.
At the Board of Aldermen meeting Monday night, Tsang pointed out the need for a bare minimum of $6,500-$8,000 in order for the to establish an e-book program. “This figure would include software and a basic collection,” Tsang said to the Board.
“We have stood back and watched what has and has not worked for other communities,” Tsang explained, noting that her staff has been to e-book conferences and are preparing for this new service, which could start being provided as soon as the funds became available.
Members of the Board of Aldermen were complimentary to Tsang, thanking her for her years of service to the Library and the . Tsang explained that the Library takes in about $30,000 annually, but funds such as late fees go back to the City’s general fund, rather than the library itself.
Blake said that he will “try to identify an appropriate source of money for e-books,” noting that there should be an update by the Board of Alderman meeting in May.
“My main concern,” Tsang explained to the Mayor, “is to be able to continue. If you find something in this year’s budget, that does not guarantee that I’m going to have the money for next year and the year after that.”
Tsang said that “for e-books, not only do we need to have our staff trained,” but the Library needs to “help people to understand how to use e-books. We need to help people who come into our building. There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re home at night at 10 o’clock and you can’t figure out how to make something work, so we’re trying to assuage all of those fears before they actually happen.”
“The surrounding towns,” Tsang explained, “Stratford, Orange, West Haven, all have e-books funded.”
Tsang talked about a recent workshop of the Connecticut Library Association. “Several people approached us and said, ‘Oh, I would never work in Milford. Your funding is so much lower.’ It’s embarrassing.”
Tsang went on to describe the 31-plus years she has worked for the city and the Library, noting, “the stress” that e-books represent “yet another service that all of our surrounding towns have added and that we haven’t added.”