In what turned out to be the best turnout in town elections ever, voters approved the library’s warrant article, and it passed by 17 votes, 500-483.
As Tuesday’s voting approached, a warrant article loomed asking for $52,000 from town residents to keep the doors of the library open.
The library has a yearly operating budget of $70,000, and for every year since it opened in 2009, except the very first year, the library had the support of the town, which kept it going financially, along with fundraising and gifts.
Last year, by a vote of 322-401, residents voted down the funding article, and library officials have had to raise money to keep the library going. The fundraising was only successful enough to keep the doors open until this year’s vote. If the vote went against the library funding again, its doors would close, officials said.
In her letter, Kingsbury pleaded with her fellow voters. “Do not let your library close! Get out and vote on Tuesday for the Gilmanton Year-Round Library!” In what turned out to be the best turnout in town elections ever, voters approved the library’s warrant article, and it passed by 17 votes, 500-483.
“We’re relieved,” said Anne Kirby, president of the library’s association.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Fred Buchholz, the library’s treasurer.
“It means our efforts at getting the (supporting) voters to turn out this year worked.”
After the defeat of last year’s funding article, which took library officials by surprise, the staff and officers of the library began an intense study of who voted in that election. They found that half the library patrons didn’t vote.
“So we targeted the patrons that seemed likely to support us with our budget with our campaign,” Buchholz said. “Even though we only won by 17 votes, it looks like it worked.”
The close vote means the library will have to do a large amount of work in preparation for next year’s elections, he said.
“We know we’ll have to do it all again next year,” he said.
“But we’re happy today.”
Kirby said the library association will be working on a plan to make the library’s financial support a regular part of the town’s budget, “so we don’t have to do this each year,” she said.