After more than eight months without a contract for library services, the Mid-Hudson Library System has instituted system-wide restrictions on library usage by residents of the Town of Union Vale at the request of the Beekman and Millbrook Libraries.
Union Vale cardholders will be restricted from borrowing the following items systemwide:
- non-print items (i.e. DVDs, CDs, Video Games, Audiobooks)
- special collections (i.e. museum passes and kits)
- select downloadable content currently available through OverDrive Advantage Accounts that is paid for per use.
In addition, Union Vale cardholders will no longer be given priority access to their home library’s titles.
If you would like to encourage your elected officials on the Union Vale Town Board to fund library service for town residents and restore full access to library materials, you can find their contact information at http://www.unionvaleny.us/town-board.html
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:
What items will I be able to borrow from my library?
Union Vale residents can borrow print materials like books and magazines from any library in the Mid-Hudson Library System. Union Vale residents will also be able to place and receive holds on print items in the MHLS catalog from their local library and MHLS member libraries.
Will I be able to borrow restricted items from other libraries?
No, these restrictions apply to Union Vale library cardholders at all libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System.
Can Union Vale residents attend programs at the Millbrook Library?
Union Vale patrons can still attend Millbrook Library programs.
Will Union Vale cardholders be able to access the library’s locally funded online services such as Hoopla, or Kanopy?
No, Union Vale cardholders will not have access to Kanopy or Hoopla.
Will I be able to borrow eBooks using the SORA OverDrive app?
You will continue to be able to access eBooks and eAudiobooks provided by your school district, but eBooks and eAudiobooks purchased with local library funds will not be available in the SORA app.
How long will these restrictions be in place?
These restrictions will remain in place until an agreement is reached between the Town of Union Vale and the libraries of Beekman, Dover, LaGrange and Millbrook.
Why implement restrictions now if no contract has been in place since January?
The eight month grace period has been in effect at the request of the neighboring libraries, Beekman, Dover, LaGrange and Millbrook, first to extend the time to negotiate a contract with the town, which did not work out, and then to help families impacted by the early stages of the COVID-19-related stay at home orders.
Why is a contract necessary?
The Town of Union Vale does not have its own library but thanks to New York State Education Law, residents still have the right to access library services at other libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System. However, given that this means other town’s taxpayers are subsidizing Union Vale residents use of their libraries, that same law allows for restrictions to library usage by those residents to be put in place when two conditions are met: (1) a town is not providing “equitable funding” to help subsidize library services and (2) 5% or more of an impacted library’s circulation of library materials is attributed to the residents of a town without their own library. This is the situation we find ourselves in. This is similar to what happened five years ago, when these two conditions were also fact: restrictions for Union Vale residents were put into place, limiting access to library services.
How did the restrictions get lifted in 2015?
Through a negotiation with the impacted libraries, MHLS and the Town of Union Vale a contract was created that provided a good faith effort by the Town of Union Vale to start paying an amount that was closer to their fair share. This resulted in the restrictions being lifted and therefore residents of the Town of Union Vale had unrestricted access to their area libraries again.
How is “equitable funding” defined?
“Equitable funding” is defined as the average per capita funding for all libraries in the county. This definition can be found in the state approved Free Direct Access Plan of the Mid-Hudson Library System, as required by regulation.
What is the equitable funding level in Dutchess County?
In Dutchess County, the average per capita funding is $50.26. This would translate to an amount of $245,118 given the population for the Town of Union Vale as stated in the 2010 Census (4,877).
How much did the Town of Union Vale provide for library services in the 2019 contract?
The 2019 contract provided a contribution of $76,407. This is approximately 30% of the amount required by regulation, however the neighboring libraries impacted by this issue endorsed this amount in a good faith effort to ensure Union Vale residents have open access to library services. The proposed 2020 contract extended services using this number as its base and sought an increase in line with the New York State Tax Cap.
While $50.26 may be the county average, how much do the residents of the impacted towns actually pay?
Current amount per capita by Town*:
- Beekman: $32.02 ($405,000 in town funding divided by 12,650 residents)
- Dover: $31.61 ($275,000 in town funding divided by 8,699 residents)
- LaGrange: $39.60 ($622,900 in town funding divided by 15,730 residents)
- Millbrook: $38.81 ($184,000 in town funding divided by 4,741 residents)
- Union Vale: $15.67 ($76,407 divided by 4,877 residents
*All funding numbers are from the NY State 2018 Annual Report. Population numbers are from the 2010 census. The Beekman Library population number is adjusted to remove the population of Green Haven Correctional Facility (14, 621 minus 1,971 equals 12,650).
Is there anything I can do to lift these restrictions?
If you would like to encourage your elected officials on the Union Vale Town Board to fund library service for town residents and restore full access to library materials, you can find their contact information at http://www.unionvaleny.us/town-board.html.