FAQ

FAQs About the Goodwin Library:

Created Spring 2015

 

1. When was the library founded?

2. Is the library a town department?

3. Why is the town required to fund the library?

4. Who owns the library building and land?

5. How do I become a trustee?

6. What are the responsibilities of a library trustee?

7. Can the library fundraise?

8. Who oversees the library?

9.  How are library employees hired?

10. Does the library have meeting room space available?

11. Does the library have printing, copying, public computers and WiFi?

12. How do I register for a library card?

13. Where do I find the current library policies?

14. How does the library determine what to purchase?

15. In the 2014 community survey, what did the people of Farmington decide was most important?

16.  What does the Goodwin Library’s NH Historical status mean?

17.  What other sources fund the library?

18.  Does the library collaborate with other libraries?

19.  How does the library determine the programs to offer at the Goodwin Library?

20.  How did the library determine the current open hours?

2015 Budget FAQs

21. How did the library determine the amount patrons saved (2014= $579,528)?

22. How did the library justify level funding for 2015?

23. How does the library’s funding from the town compare to other New Hampshire libraries with similar town populations?

24. How does the staffing costs at the Goodwin Library compare to other NH libraries with similar town populations?

25. How did the library save money in 2014?

26. How did the budget decrease of $20,000 affect 2015 library budget?

27. When was the last year that the library was funded as low as $260,000 by the town?

28. How are the line item numbers in the budget determined?

29. Based on the 2008 town payment, what should the library’s budget have been in 2015 with cost-of-living increases alone?

 

Answers:

1. When was the library founded?

The Town of Farmington first references a library association, the Farmington Social Library Association, in 1853  The association that today manages the library, the Farmington Public Library Association, was formally organized on December 8th, 1890 by fourteen community members and approved by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Frank G. Clarke, the President of the Senate John McLane, and Governor Hiram A. Tuttle on March 25th, 1891 (State of New Hampshire, Office of Secretary of State).  Then in 1895, an act enabled the library to be supported by the town “in order to secure to said town the free use of the library” (State of New Hampshire, Office of Secretary of State).  The cornerstone of the Goodwin Library Building was laid on August 23rd, 1928. The building was finally dedicated on May 10th, 1929, and the doors were opened for business the next day.

 

2. Is the library a town department?

No, the Farmington Public Library Association is a political/municipal subdivision.  It is funded by the town based on the 1895 act, but governed and managed by the Library Trustees.

NH Law, RSA-Section 202-A:2

Definitions. – As used in this chapter the following words shall be construed as follows unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

I. “Public library” shall mean every library which receives regular financial support, at least annually, from public or private sources and which provides regular and currently useful library service to the public without charge. The words may be construed to include reference and circulating libraries, reading rooms and museums regularly open to the public.

II. “Library trustees” shall mean the governing board of a public library.

 

3. Why is the town required to fund the library?

The Library Trustees have entire custody and management of the public library (RSA 202:A6).  This group carefully manages the budget throughout the year, and then determines what is adequate to maintain the needed resources and services to the community in the upcoming budget cycle.

NH Law, RSA Section 202-A:1

Declaration of Policy. – Mindful that, as the constitution declares, “knowledge and learning, generally diffused through a community” are “essential to the preservation of a free government” the legislature recognizes its duty to encourage the people of New Hampshire to extend their education during and beyond the years of formal education. To this end, it hereby declares that the public library is a valuable supplement to the formal system of free public education and as such deserves adequate financial support from government at all levels.

Source. 1963, 46:1, eff. July 1, 1963.

 

4. Who owns the library building and land?

The Goodwin Library land and building is owned by the Farmington Public Library Association.  For the sum of one dollar in 1928 the land was “well and truly paid by the Farmington Public Library Association of said Farmington, a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of said State” (Land Deed, Strafford County Records).  New Hampshire law dictates that Library Trustees have full management and custody of the library property.

NH Law, RSA Section 202-A:6

202-A:6 Library Trustees; Election; Alternates. – The library trustees shall have the entire custody and management of the public library and of all the property of the town relating thereto, including appropriations held pursuant to RSA 202-A:11, III, but excepting trust funds held by the town.

To view the historic land deed of the Goodwin Library from 1928, go to this link:  Land Deed.

 

5. How do I become a trustee?

The Goodwin Library Trustees encourage all community members interested in serving on the Board of Trustees to attend a regularly scheduled meeting.  These meetings occur on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 6pm.  The Trustees do not meet in July and August.  The qualifications for Library Trustees compiled by the New Hampshire Library Association are:

    • People who actively use the library, regularly attend programs, and show concern and interest
    • Possess time and desire to fight for quality library services
    • Hold a strong, unshakeable belief in the importance of libraries
    • Ability to be a team player and have a sense of humor
    • Be open to the needs of both the library and the community and have the ability to voice these needs
    • Chutzpah to get things done in the local political area

The election process is copied below from the Goodwin Library Bylaws.

Goodwin Library Bylaws: Election

1. The President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected at the regular annual meeting of this Association by a majority vote of all board members (Trustees) present and voting.

2.  Trustees shall be elected at the regular annual meeting by a majority vote of all board members (Trustees) present and eligible to vote.  They shall hold office for three years and shall maintain staggered terms.

3.  Vacancies in the Board of Trustees shall be filled by election by the Board for the unexpired term of the vacant post.

State library law also states the following in Section 202:A 7:

In any town where a public library has been acquired by the town, in whole or in part, by donation or bequest containing other conditions or provisions for the election of its trustees or other governing board, which conditions have been agreed to by vote of the town and which conditions do not provide for a representative of the public, a special library trustee, to represent the public, shall be elected by the town for a 3-year term.

Source. 1917, 59:1. PL 10:52. RL 15:55. RSA 202:6. 1963, 46:1. 1987, 89:1. 2000, 9:2, eff. April 16, 2000.

The Farmington Public Library Association’s founding constitution in 1891 authorized it to adopt regulations for its own government. This 124 year old constitution signed by the State of New Hampshire and the Governor pre-dates the laws about a voted representative written in 1917 and 1963, so the New Hampshire State Library advised that the Goodwin Library may have been considered grandfathered with our current election process. However, the State Library encourages town representation on the Trustee Board in the near future, so that it aligns itself better with the state laws. The library is still in the initial stages of this change, and hopes to update the bylaws as well in the upcoming year!.

 

6. What are the responsibilities of a library trustee?

NH Law, RSA Section 202-A:11

202-A:11 Powers and Duties. – Except in those cities where other provision has been made by general or special act of the legislature, the library trustees of every public library in the state shall:

I. Adopt bylaws, rules and regulations for its own transaction of business and for the government of the library;

II. Prepare an annual budget indicating what support and maintenance of the free public library will be required out of public funds for submission to the appropriate agency of the municipality. A separate budget request shall be submitted for new construction, capital improvements of existing library property;

III. Expend all moneys raised and appropriated by the town or city for library purposes and shall direct that such moneys be paid over by the town or city treasurer pursuant to a payment schedule as agreed to by the library trustees and the selectmen or city council. All money received from fines and payments for lost or damaged books or for the support of a library in another city or town under contract to furnish library service to such town or city, shall be used for general repairs and upgrading, and for the purchase of books, supplies and income-generating equipment, shall be held in a non lapsing separate fund and shall be in addition to the appropriation;

IV. Expend income from all trust funds for library purposes for the support and maintenance of the public library in said town or city in accordance with the conditions of each donation or bequest accepted by the town or city;

V. Appoint a librarian who shall not be a trustee and, in consultation with the librarian, all other employees of the library and determine their compensation and other terms of employment unless, in the cities, other provision is made in the city charter or ordinances.

Source. 1917, 59:1. 1919, 35:1. PL 10:56. 1927, 82:4. 1933, 60:3. RL 15:59. 1943, 90:2. RSA 202:10. 1963, 46:1. 1983, 272:1. 2000, 9:4, eff. April 16, 2000.

 

7. Can the library fundraise?

The Farmington Public Library Association is not a 501(c)3.  Instead, as previously mentioned, the library is a political/municipal subdivision.  The library can receive gifts, grants, donations, but the library does not receive an IRS Letter of Determination, which would allow people to create tax write-offs for contributions and attract large donors from Foundations.

Because grant makers know that when “extra money” (even if it is a grant) is given to a town or city it is sometimes regarded as a new revenue source to be used to lower the tax rate (or the budget of the library) and not to carry out the purpose of the grant.  While this is not universal among foundations, the chance of the Farmington Public Library receiving a grant, in my opinion, is very slim.

Many public libraries faced with this dilemma have assisted in setting up a separate non-profit organization (Friends Group), which can apply for and receive grants for the benefit of the library in question.  This is probably the best course of action.

By Terry Knowles, New Hampshire Charitable Trusts Unit

Department of the Attorney General

Due to these limitations, the Friends of the Goodwin Library was formed in 2002. Friends are a support group for their local library. They work hand-in-hand with the Trustees and the Library Director to develop, supplement, and enhance library services, facilities, and programs. Friends increase the community’s awareness and use of all the services provided by the library.  As a result, this group funds the library’s museum passes, genealogy databases, and movie subscription (allows the library to show movies to the public) .

For more information on the Friends of the Goodwin Library, go to this link:  Friends of the Library.

 

8. Who oversees the library?

The Library Trustees oversee the entire custody and management of the library (RSA 202-A:6).  This includes the Library Director, who reports to the Trustee Board.

Town and budget reports are submitted to the Town Administrator and Selectmen every year.  The Selectmen then recommends a budget to the Budget Committee, which includes an amount for the library.

After town meeting, the library then submits the final budget, including the previous year’s expenditures, to the New Hampshire Charitable Trusts Unit.  The budget is also reported to the New Hampshire State Library including all available statistics for the past year.

Statistics, including budget items, are also reported to the Public Library Association.

 

9.  How are library employees hired?

The library posts position openings in multiple places, such as social media, the New Hampshire Library email list, the New Hampshire Library Association, and local newspapers.  The Library Director will review applications and interview, but the Board of Trustees has final approval.

The Library Trustees have approved job descriptions for the various positions in the library, but general qualifications include:

    • Experience interacting with the public
    • Ability to be flexible and adapt to changes
    • Possess an attitude of acceptance with an economically diverse community
    • Aptitude to learn new processes and technology
    • Willingness to problem solve with patrons
    • Value teamwork and to support the mission of the library

In the Public Library Association Journal from January/February 2015, Library Professional Kathy Middleton is quoted as saying:

“Staff is our most valuable asset.  Staff members are the face of our libraries and the public library personified.  Staffing our information desks, they answer an array of questions, and seek to satisfy information needs no matter how big or small… Our public libraries are nothing of value or of lasting legacy without staffers who serve the public every day and believe in the benefits of the public library to change lives (pg. 11).”

 

10. Does the library have meeting room space available?

Yes, for library and non-profit use.  In a recent Public Library Association Journal article by Librarian Brent Bloechle, he says:

“Providing space for community activities is a form of customer service.  And this evolving form of customer service also brings with it a change in library ambiance (pg 15).”

The library owns two meeting spaces, a top floor community room and the historical space in the basement.  Due to the value of the objects in the basement space, its use is restricted.  However, the top floor community room can be reserved by non-profits per the Library Trustee Meeting Room Policy.

For documents concerning ownership and use of the upstairs meeting space, click on the links below to view scanned copies:

 

11. Does the library have printing, copying, public computers and WiFi?

Yes, the library has public computers connected to both b/w and color printers.  The copy machine is only capable of printing b/w.  Both printing and copies is done for a nominal charge. The library has 4 adult desktop computers, 4 youth desktop computers, 2 catalog computers, multiple electronic devices for reading (eReaders and Leap Frog readers for children), and 2 laptops for in-house library use.  The library also has WiFi available for patrons.  No password is required, so even when the library is not open, patrons may sit outside and receive a signal.

The technology varies in age, but the library has begun to purchase new technology yearly in an effort to rotate out aging equipment.

 

12. How do I register for a library card?

Individuals that live, work, attend school, or own property in Farmington must show satisfactory proof of their residency or employment and provide photo identification.  Once status has been established, they may get a library card free.  These cards are valid for three years.

Children must be five years of age to obtain their own library card.  All students under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian sign the card application accepting financial responsibility to get a library card and show photo identification (parent/guardian).  Young adults may use their school I.D. as photo identification and proof of residency, but they still must have their parent or guardian sign the application.

Farmington residents, who do not have proper identification, may be issued a temporary card at the discretion of the circulation staff.  The temporary card would allow the check out of three items and be valid for three months.  This card does not allow interlibrary loans or device checkouts.

Non-residents and non-taxpayers shall pay a sum designated by the Board of Trustees for a library card and must provide photo identification.  Non-resident cards are valid for one year.

Library’s Circulation Policy- Approved by the Trustees on October 17th, 2013.

 

13. Where do I find the current library policies?

Goodwin Library Policies are posted on the website under the “About” menu tab,  or go to the link here: Goodwin Library Policies.

 

14. How does the library determine what to purchase for the collection?

Responsibility for Selection

It is the charge of the Goodwin Library Staff to select materials for the collection.  The general public may also recommend items for purchase.  However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Director and staff, who operate within the framework of the policies and budget, to determine the scope of the collection.

General Selection Criteria:

A.  Contemporary significance or permanent value

B.  Authority of the author

C.  Accuracy and general quality of work

D.  Price, format, and ease of use

E.  Availability of material elsewhere in the community

F.  Most current or updated material

G.  Popular demand

H.  Textbooks and curriculum materials will not be considered

I.   Self-published materials must be approved specifically by the Library Director

The Goodwin Library welcomes suggestions and recommendations from the community.  However, all purchase recommendations are evaluated by the General Selection Criteria listed above.  The item may be available through Interlibrary Loan as well.

Library’s Collection Policy- Approved by the Trustees on September 18th, 2014.

 

15. In the 2014 community survey of library users and non library users (print and online), what did the community of Farmington decide was most important at their library?

 

Library Services

Important

Not Important

N/A or Don’t Know

Borrowing Materials

82%

0%

18%

Assistance from Staff

84%

2%

14%

Computer Access

48%

28%

24%

Assistance Using Computers

49%

32%

19%

Programs

69%

9%

22%

Study Space

54%

23%

23%

Community Meeting Space

57%

20%

23%

Internet Access/ WiFi

59%

20%

21%

Online Presence

74%

6%

20%

eBooks and Online Resources

60%

12%

27%—

106 people were surveyed both online and in a paper version.  This data was gathered as part of  the Library’s Strategic Planning Progress- August 2014.  The information gathered from this survey and the future Strategic Plan help drive how the library’s money is spent now and in the future.

 

16.  What does the Goodwin Library’s NH Historical status mean?

Listing in the State Register can contribute to the preservation of historic properties in a number of ways. Please see “Effects of Listing” for more information on these benefits:

    • Public recognition that a property is significant to a community.
    • Consideration and advocacy in the planning of local and state funded or otherwise assisted projects.
    • Qualification for state financial assistance for preservation projects, when funds are available.
    • Special consideration or relief in the application of some access, building and safety code regulations.
    • A complimentary one-year membership to the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources

To learn more about the Goodwin Library’s history, go to this link:  Goodwin Library’s Historical Registry App

 

17.  What other sources fund the library?

The Farmington Public Library Association over the years was bequeathed small trusts from a few generous individuals in town.  Many of these donations have gone into the primary trust fund account.  The interest from this account helps supplement some of the library’s yearly expenses, but the account cannot be spent otherwise.  The library also holds other small trusts in separate accounts.  These trusts have special stipulations on how the money or interest is spent.  For instance, the library has accounts for the preservation of the library’s art, purchases of research materials, and even an account for the purchase of a historical fiction book each year.  The Library Trustees carefully manage these accounts, keeping in mind the donations and contributions of the past and present, while determining the needs of the future.

 

18.  Does the library collaborate with other libraries?

The library staff communicates, collaborates, and meets when able with other librarians in the town (school librarians), region (Rochester Area Librarians), state (New Hampshire State Library and New Hampshire Library Association), New England (New England Library Association), and nationally (American Library Association and the Pubic Library Association).  These associations also have subdivisions that focus on library topics and special populations, including service to youth.  The Goodwin Library is able to keep in touch with these librarians through listservs, emails, journals, and workshops.  Being active with these groups and associations allows the Goodwin Library to share resources and materials and encourages professional growth.

 

19. How does the library determine the programs to offer at the Goodwin Library?

The library creates and maintains programs based on the factors and questions below:

    • What programs and services are trending in other libraries and were they deemed successful
    • Patron feedback about programs and services
    • Program attendance and interest
    • Can the library host the program for little or no cost
    • Community need
    • Does the program promote learning and literacy
    • Is the library duplicating another free program in the community

All employees are evaluated and receive professional development training yearly.

 

20.  How did the library determine the current open hours?

The library was open 37 hours a week in late 2013, 2014, and early 2015.  The open hours fluctuated every other day to allow both day and evening visits by patrons.  Due to the 2015 budget cuts, the library could no longer afford to stay open those hours.  Although every day at the library is busy, based on circulation and usage statistics Monday and Wednesday were slightly slower.  The library made the decision to close Wednesday, so that patrons would not have two days in a row without access to internet, resources, and services.

 

21. How did the library determine the amount patrons saved (2014= $579,528)?

The savings is calculated by our patron checkout system, which is a standard formula and statistic for public libraries nationally.  Whenever the library buys a book or item, staff members catalog the purchase price in the system.  The system then calculates the patron savings based on the value of each material and how many times it was borrowed.  In 2014 the Goodwin Library loaned items (or circulated) 43,910 times.  The average cost of a book or movie is around $15.  This number only demonstrates the savings of borrowing materials.  The amount does not reflect the value of Internet access, programs (including tax services), technology or space.

 

22. How did the library justify level funding for 2015?

The Goodwin Library continues to grow, but the budget does not every year.  The last time we were funded as low as $260,000 was in 2008.  If the town took the 2008 budget of $258,123, and increased it every year based upon the Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (changes equal 10.2%), the library should be funded at $284,452 in 2015.  However, the Cost-of-Living adjustments do not reflect the libraries growth.  The Goodwin Library lent 21,000 items in 2008, and last year alone loaned 43,910.  This is a 108% increase!

Additionally, Forbes reports in September 2014 that the “biggest challenge facing small cities will be retaining or attracting enough young families.”  Families value education, including schools and libraries, so the Goodwin Library must stay funded for the community to grow.

 

23. How does the library’s funding from the town compare to other New Hampshire libraries with similar town populations?

Average library budget for NH towns similar in size is $348,308.45.

Average town funding of the library for NH towns similar in size is $311,766.05.

This figure is based on the 2013 State of NH Library statistics.  Ten towns smaller and ten towns greater in population were compared.  The gaps will continue to grow as we fund our library less.

 

24. How does the staffing costs at the Goodwin Library compare to other NH libraries with similar town populations?

Average total staffing cost for libraries in NH towns similar in size is $232,306.05.

This figure is again based on the 2013 State of NH Library statistics.  Ten towns smaller and ten towns greater in population were compared.  The Goodwin Library’s total staff cost, as proposed for 2015, is $50,000 less than the state average.  Any staffing increases or hours adjustments are dictated by the Library Trustees as managers of the library budget.

Additionally, the Goodwin Library is not a town department, so benefits such as health, dental, life insurance, longevity pay, and retirement are not provided to part-time or full-time employees.

 

25. How did the library save money in 2014?

The library received two small grants last year.  The Summer Reading Program Grant supported a literacy based program for the youth in June and July.  The library also received the CLiF Grant with the Valley View Community School, which provided the Goodwin Library with new childrens books for the collection. The Goodwin Library is always interested in opportunities for grants.  However, every grant application requires hours of staff time to prepare with no guarantee of receiving the funds.  With increased usage of the library and budget cuts, it is very difficult for the staff to set aside adequate amounts of time to complete applications.  Despite this, the library will continue to pursue additional grants as able.

The library utilized volunteers for a total of 394 hours in 2014, which was an increase of 84% from the year before.  Regular, weekly volunteers helped paint, shelf books, process new materials, rake, snow shovel, rearrange furniture, prepare for programs, and much, much more!  The local Eagle Scout Troop volunteered materials and time to build library signage, landscape, and repair the rear entrance.

The Friends of the Goodwin Library have been very supportive this last year as well.  As previously mentioned, the Goodwin Library is unable to fundraise, so the Friends Group is an invaluable resource, which sponsors the museum passes and databases. In 2014, the group was able to double the profits from the Hay Day Book Sale, and accepted a memorial donation from the Swigert Family.  In late 2014 and early 2015, the group was busy with new fundraising efforts, including a benefit dinner and tote bag sale.

Finally, the library has maintained and developed programs in 2014 because of relationships with numerous businesses, non-profits, town departments, and performers including:  Dover Adult Learning, New Hampshire State Library, Farmington Parks and Rec, Farmington Police and Fire, Farmington School District, Rochester Area Librarians, Farmington Para-Educators Group, Farmington Historical Society, Farmington Women’s Club, UNH Cooperative Extension Service, Vita Tax Prep, Servicelink, Goodwin Community Health, CAP, Lone Oak Ice Cream, Dr. Tomato, Food Pantry, Barnes and Noble, Crowley’s Variety, Studley’s Flower Garden, Butternut Farms, York’s Wild Kingdom, Author Layne Case, Dancer Joan Wiegers, Honey Dew Donuts, Musician Meg Josalen, 40 to 1 Maple Syrup Company, Gordon’s Bricks 4 Kids, to name a few…  Due to the generosity of people and organizations listed above, the library was able to reduce the cost of programming, despite the growing numbers.

 

26. How did the budget decrease of $20,000 affect 2015 library budget?

The Goodwin Library is not a town department.  None of the facilities or maintenance needs are completed by the town.  The library is responsible for grounds, repairs, telephone, technology, capital improvements, and utilities of the 1920’s historic building.  The facility budget is already very slim, so large cuts to the budget came from personnel, which affected open hrs (-$9,103), materials (-$11,422), and facilities (-$729).  Staff and materials were deemed most important by the community (demonstrated by the recent survey), but due to level funding for the past few years there were limited places to trim the budget.

 

27. When was the last year that the library was funded as low as $260,000 by the town?

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

$258,123

$264,591

$264,591

$264,591

$270,000

$281,117

$273,707

+

7,410=

281,117

$260,000

In 2014, the library was funded at $273,707 because the library under spent $7,410 the year before without a Director for a few months. The Library Trustees only requested $273,707 because they promised to honor the unspent amount as part of the 2014 budget.

 

28. How are the line item numbers in the budget determined?

NH Law, RSA Section 202-A:11

202-A:11 Powers and Duties.

II. Prepare an annual budget indicating what support and maintenance of the free public library will be required out of public funds for submission to the appropriate agency of the municipality.

 The Library Trustees request an amount from the town, but the Trustees and Library Director prepare the line item amounts based on library and community need, budget available, and expenditures from the previous year.  From year to year, the budget receives mostly small adjustments.  As an example, the year 2014 showed that postage of materials is less because of free shipping from more companies. The money saved is adjusted to the need, primarily personnel  and materials because of the level funding.

 

29. Based on the 2008 town payment, what should the library’s budget be for 2015 with cost-of-living increases alone?

If the town took the 2008 budget of $258,123, and increased it every year based upon the Cost-of-Living-Adjustments (changes equal 10.2%), the library should be funded $284,452 in 2015.

 

 

Additional comments or questions can be sent to the Library Trustees or Director.  Preferred method of contact is listed on the Goodwin Library Website under “About.”

 

To view this page with Google Docs, go here: Goodwin Library FAQ.