Annual Report and Budget

The 2024 Library Budget and Trustee Vote - Questions and Answers

Frequently Asked Questions
When will the library vote be held?

The vote will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2024, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the library’s H. Dutcher Community Room. Information about absentee ballots is available from the Library District Clerk, at 518-584-7860, or at the library between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. At 7 p.m. on Monday, April 8th, there will be a public hearing on the proposed budget in the H. Dutcher Community Room.

Who can vote?

Any Saratoga Springs City School District resident who is a registered voter is eligible to vote.

What are we voting for?
  • Budget: The public will be voting on a proposition to collect $5,363,013 in school district property taxes in Fiscal Year 2024-2025 to operate the Saratoga Springs Public Library. This is a 1.5% increase over FY2023-24.
  • Trustee: There are no vacant Library Trustee seats during this election cycle.
What happens if the budget doesn’t pass?

Unlike public school budgets, the law does not allow for any changes if the budget is defeated, and unless the library board decides to hold a second budget vote (highly unlikely), the library would still receive the same amount appropriated in FY 2023-2024. Should the proposed budget not pass, the library board will decide what budget lines and services will be reduced or reallocated.

What will be happening in the coming year?

FY2023-24 was another busy year for programs, and we anticipate that attendance at programs for children and seniors, particularly, will continue to grow. Similarly, we anticipate that our efforts to provide library services at locations in the district beyond the library building will expand.

The ways library materials are used continues to change with publishing trends: print books and magazines continue to be borrowed heavily, and use of library-provided electronic resources such as e-books and audiobooks and streaming movies continues to grow. While use of movies and music on disc media continues to be strong, it is declining. We anticipate that our growing “library of things” beyond traditional materials will continue to expand. Budget allocations for these material types reflect these changes.

The new year will also mark the beginning of a new multi-year program of capital improvements addressing the age of the building and reflecting changes in the way spaces within it are used. The first phase of the program will focus on replacing the elevator, improved space for the archival collections of the Saratoga Room, and upgraded and expanded meeting and program spaces.

Saratoga Springs Public Library Proposed FY2024-25 Budget

FY2023-24 FY2024-25
Books $200,000 $180,000
Magazines and Microfilm $25,000 $30,000
Electronic Resources $140,000 $160,000
Computer Software $10,000 $10,000
Audio and Visual Materials $60,000 $50,000
Supplies $47,000 $47,000
Postage $10,000 $10,000
Miscellaneous and Bank Charges $21,000 $21,000
Insurance $80,000 $75,000
Heat $10,000 $12,000
Electricity $100,000 $100,000
Phone and Internet $20,000 $20,000
Sewer Tax $12,000 $10,000
Repairs and Maintenance $95,000 $100,000
Equipment $42,500 $85,000
Conferences and Training $25,000 $30,000
Professional Services $65,000 $80,000
Printing $10,000 $10,000
Program Expenses $60,000 $65,000
Automation $115,000 $115,000
Capital Projects $200,000 $800,000
Retirement $376,760 $350,000
Social Security $270,000 $270,000
Health Insurance $665,000 $793,500
Disability Insurance $5,000 $5,000
Salaries $3,393,600 $3,433,608
Total Operating Budget $6,057,860 $6,862,108
Income Other than School District Levy $774,103 $1,499,095
Required from School District Levy $5,283,757 $5,363,013

More questions? Contact A. Issac Pulver, Library Director, at 518-584-7860.

Annual Report

A Letter From the Director

What do People magazine, djembe drums, the autobiography of Prince Harry, 17 “Elephant and Piggie” easy-readers by Mo Willems, the eBook version of I’m Glad my Mom is Dead by Jenette McCurdy, season one of Yellowstone on DVD, and a pass to the Children’s Museum at Saratoga have in common? They are all ways of sharing stories and experiences, and they all broke the top 100 most-borrowed items list from among the nearly half-million items checked out from Saratoga Springs Public Library in 2023.

Looking at the most-borrowed list is always an interesting exercise. Some patterns are unsurprising: our community has always been one of readers. Print materials have always out-circulated audio and video materials at Saratoga Springs Public Library, even when movies surged ahead of books in many other libraries across the country. What’s particularly striking this year is that only three of the top 100 items in 2023 were DVDs.

And those drums? And museum passes? For as long as I’ve been working in libraries (well into my third decade, now, egads!), the profession has been changing, and evolving, to meet the tastes and needs of our consumers, but always with a foundation of delivering information and stories. Watch for our Library of Things to continue to grow over the next year, beginning with our Seed Library debuting this April.

Regarding plans for our physical plant? In my first year as Director of SSPL, in 2008, we set out on a multi-year project to transform the interior space of the library. Over the next decade and a half, we created the Treehouse Room, reimagined public service points at the Circulation, Information, and Reference desks, doubled the space of the public computing area, then re-envisioned and doubled the size of the Teen Room, enlarged and relocated the Friends Book Shop, and relocated, opened (then, thanks to Covid, reopened) the Coffee Shop. We also completely upgraded the HVAC system. While accomplishing all of this, we also became one of the first certified sustainable libraries in the state of New York.

Now, that work continues. Our elevator has reached the end of its useful life and needs replacing, our meeting rooms require upgrades, and the precious archival resources of our Saratoga Room deserve thoughtful protection. The proposed FY 2024-25 budget, which includes a 1.5% increase in library-dedicated property taxes over FY 2023-24, will begin to address these infrastructure priorities.

How did your library serve the community in 2023?

  • Library users borrowed 492,379 items.
  • Cardholders downloaded or viewed 81,752 eBooks, eAudiobooks, and streaming movies.
  • Library staff prepared, presented, and hosted more than 2,333 program sessions for 21,123 participants of all ages, including 923 one-on-one sessions devoted to adult basic education, digital literacy, and English Language Learning.
  • 1,538 people attended English Language Learning classes and tutoring sessions with library staff and volunteers.
  • Library staff made 339 visits to individual homebound residents, senior housing sites, and school classrooms, reaching and serving 5,162 people in locations outside of the library.
  • 253,112 people visited the library in 2023.
  • Users logged nearly 50,000 sessions on library computer and wireless services.
  • In 2023, library meeting rooms were booked by non-profit community organizations or used on a walk-in basis 982 times.