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Newsletter of the Goshen Public Library
Supported by the Friends of the Goshen Public Library

Vol. 5, No. 2, October 1998

A library is books and somewhere to put them
and some people to want them there.

- Sheila Bourbeau

The Search for a New Library Site

Since the library began exploring sites for the construction of a new, expanded facility four years ago, it has reviewed every site that might be available within walking distance of the present facility. The board has done this because it seems clear to us from all the public input we have received that the community would like the library to remain near the schools and central business hub of Goshen.

The board worked for many months attempting to negotiate for a portion of the Salesian property. The county rejected its offer. The village and town boards did not respond to the library's requests to be a party to their negotiations, no develop negotiating with the county has approached the library to discuss its needs before the fact of bidding. While reviewing the Salesian property we formed a clearer picture of the legal entanglements surrounding title to the property. Two separate lawyers expressed the opinion that it could take years to clear title. Without clear title, we cannot proceed with the mandated NYS Educational Department approval process.

The board began reviewing the Lippincott property in late spring. This site has the advantage of being centrally located on the Main Street corridor. At 3.5 acres, it is of sufficient size to accommodate an expanded library facility behind the house. The house itself, at 4,000 square feet, is large enough and structurally adequate to house library administrative offices and our local history collection. The library has no plans to alter the house or the appearance of the property from Main Street other than to widen the drive and erect a sign. In fact, the building's traditional architecture is an important part of the property's attraction to us.

After examination of the property by our architect and an environmental engineer, as well as consultation with the NYS Education Department, to determine the suitability of the house for the uses we were considering, we began negotiating with Mr. Lippincott. In late July we came to terms on a purchase price. We are now negotiating terms for the purchase option. Our architect is working on a rendering to help us all envision how a library of similar architectural style might be attached to the house, and how the parking would be configured. A preliminary estimate for the cost of implementing this plan is $4.2 million.

After countless hours of discussion, and no small expense for studies of several properties, members of the public have suggested that some school district property previously eliminated from consideration should be reconsidered. We also read in the Times Herald Record that the county was negotiating for the sale of the Salesian property, and that the developer was considering our needs.

Randy Brown, developer of the Salesian site, met with the library board at its August 31 work session. He presented his plans for the site and discussed the hurdles he must cross to bring them to fruition. His presentation, and subsequent action by the county legislature denying him a 30-day extension to complete fact finding before making the initial non-refundable payment, indicates to us that Salesian lands will not be available as a library site in the foreseeable future.

On September 10, library board president Patty Garnett and director, Pauline Kehoe met with Board of Education president John McLoughlin and superintendent James Langlois to discuss the Main Street School building. The school board is currently grappling with the space needs of its student population; discussion of plans for administrative offices is not its priority. Aside from ruling out use of the Main Street building as classroom space, its future has not been discussed. An plan for use of the building by the library would necessitate planning by the school board for a new administrative facility. The Main Street site has drawbacks for use as a library as well as use for classrooms. It is of common wood construction, which would prohibit its use as a three floor library building. The floor load capacity is 50 pounds per square foot; a library requires 150 pounds. As a result, the building would have to be gutted, preserving only the four exterior walls, which are in need of substantial repointing. A preliminary estimate of the cost to renovate the building and grounds for library purposes is at least $5 million. Our architect has examined the building and reported his findings as to its suitability for library use. The library board discussed his findings on September 14.

At this writing, the Lippincott property is a concrete possibility, which appears to offer the best solution to the library's current and future space needs. The library board has always asserted that no matter where a new library was constructed, its exterior design would compliment Goshen's rich architectural heritage. We believe that our adaptation of the house will help preserve this portion of Main Street for posterity.

Friends of the Goshen Public Library & Historical Society

The Friends of the GPLHS have completed their most successful summer of events. The ice cream social attracted a crowd of 200, drawn to the music of Brass Quintessence and the flavors of Blueberry Mountain. The Great American Weekend book sale raised $1,668 and the silent auction $1,420 to cover their promised donation of $3,000 towards library services this year and making this the most successful fundraising event in the group's history. They then met to plan their fall activities that include a book sale to coincide with the antique car show at the Historic Track on September 27 and a Holiday Open House on December 8, feature the Gravikord Ensemble.

These events and the implementation of the focus group's suggestions for fundraising for the new library building are uncertain. An infusion of new active members who are willing to help organize events is critical to the future of this newly incorporated not-for-profit agency, as current leadership is over-extended. "We have always been blessed with willing workers, but the officers need help planning and coordinating activities. Members of the focus group I attended had lots of suggestions for fundraising to offset the cost of a new building, but who will help organize the effort?" asks Kerri Maner, Friends president. "Is the library a priority with the people of Goshen? Membership dollars are important, but we can't continue without people who are willing to donate their time to organize an event." If you have time to share with the library's Friends, please call Kerri Maner (427-5451), Marge Carroll (294-7430) or Paige Cody (294-6147).

The Friends are selling a 24-volume set of The Harvard Classics. The books are in mint condition and can be purchased for $72.

Board Meetings

Adult Programs at the Library

Children's Programs at the Library

Registration for fall programs for preschoolers through second graders has already occurred. If you missed the sign up, you may want to check to see if there are any openings. Programs for older children are listed below and have varied registration dates and procedures, so please read the information carefully.

Calendar Online

For a complete listing of all events at Goshen Public Library, including Board meetings, please click here for our online calendar.

Solve It @ the Library

The mystery is solved! Kids love to read in Goshen!

Members of the "Solve It @ the Library" Summer Reading Club enjoyed over 2,000 books. These reading detectives kept the library staff on its toes tracking down answers to their questions and searching for the perfect book to spark their interest.

Enrollment increased by 26 percent this year, with 327 children and teens joining the club. During the six-week time period, 1,178 participants attended 43 programs. The grand finale featured Joe Fischer, a skilled and entertaining magician who chose a few eager members of the audience to be his assistants.

Our Teen Reading Club attracted a record 35 young adults in 7th through 12th grades. These teens were faithful volunteers at programs for the younger children. They also enjoyed a variety of activities of their own, including Mystery Jeopardy with reference librarian Fran O'Gorman.

Many thanks are due to the Friends of the Goshen Public Library, whose generous donation helps make the Summer Reading Club possible.

Staff Profile

Barbara Stienstra, our new part-time Young Adult/Reference librarian, joined our staff on September 1. She will be developing a plan of service for young adults building on the popularity of the summer YA program, and offering something to keep this age group in the library year round. Some of this plan will, of necessity, be long range, as the library lacks the space in this facility to house a substantial new service. Additional programs for young adults will be the likely first step, and Barbara would appreciate hearing ideas from the community.

Barbara comes to us after 24 years at Sullivan County Community College library, where she began her career as a library clerk. She received her MLS in 1994 from the Palmer School of Long Island University, taking classes around her full-time work schedule. Since completing her degree she has worked as a part-time reference library at Rockland County Community College and Middletown Thrall Library.

Barbara likes to travel and is fascinated by all things Egyptian. She is married and lives in Middletown.

1998-99 Annual Report
for Goshen Public Library & Historical Society


     Taxes               $428,764
     Additional Revenue    50,756
     Total               $479,520

10.5% of the library's income came from sources other than taxes.


     Staff               $286,861
     Library Materials     81,781
     Building              18,994
     Other                 89,838
     Total               $477,474

Per capita library cost: $28.67

What did your library tax do for Goshen?

A Message from the Board President

The library board is deep in the process of trying to find a centrally located, architecturally pleasing building that will serve our needs for the next generation. We have, however, had to come to grips with the fact that the perfect solution to our space needs does not exist. So, our task is to develop what we believe is the best available plan and present it to the voters at the appropriate time. This is what you elected us to do. At that point, the decision will be up to you, the taxpayers of Goshen.

During the past year, the demand for library services has continued to increase. The 63,477 customers who visited us borrowed 4 percent more items from our collection, borrowed 40 percent more items through inter-library loan and asked 2.5 percent more reference questions. Preschool and after school programs continue to have waiting lists. As the library board monitors increasing usage, it has also been reminded of the space limitations of the building through the room capacity signs mandated by the fire safety inspector.

In May, we completed the first phase of our long range plan by conducting focus groups (group interviews) with representative segments of the community. The focus groups reinforced our desire to bring the site selection process to closure so that we could get back to the business of making library policy and fleshing out plans to better meet your needs. Services for young adults and library hours were two indentified areas of concern that we can begin addressing now in this building.

The theme of the focus group remarks was that the participants, library cardholders and non-library users alike, see the library as the community center of Goshen. The library is the place where all age groups come together, and the quality of the public library is a reflection of the quality of life in the community. The library has a role as an arts center--concerts and the annual poetry festival are among our more popular programs. The library also has a role as a technology education center, introducing adults to the mysteries of computers, CD-ROM resources and the Internet.

The second phase of our long-range planning process, which will involve further community input, must be temporarily put on hold while we grapple with the resolution of the overriding issue of our space needs.

Patty Garnett
Present, Goshen Public Library Board of Trustees

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