Amy Peterson Cyr can be reassured that the Gardiner Public Library is not mean-spirited and fully embraces the spirit of public libraries everywhere (”Gardiner library’s wrong response to Farmingdale,” letter, May 18). However, the library has to be fully funded. One hundred and forty-five Maine towns without libraries have entered into partnership arrangements. These municipalities pay the towns with a library a fixed fee, in one case as high as $128,204. The budgets for these services must be made a year in advance.

The board of trustees recommends, but does not make, policy. The Gardiner City Council sets library policy. The council set a five-year moratorium on selling cards to residents whose towns have left the regional service.

Before Farmingdale left the regional library service in 2010, the library issued 652 household cards, 197 children/student cards and 538 adult cards. Currently Farmingdale has 178 adult cards and 29 children/student cards. When Farmingdale created a pay-as-you-go model, 101 family cards were issued, a decline of 551 families.

When a community becomes a partner town, the town’s flat fee covers every resident. When individuals join it’s their annual decision — they may join, or they may not — creating an impossible situation when creating an annual budget.

Farmingdale has received a greatly discounted annual fee for three years. This allowed the library to gather enough statistics to establish a fair fee. The price for Farmingdale to remain a partner is $10,153. Litchfield pays $20,586; Pittston $23,292; Randolph $14,773; West Gardiner $34,404. Gardiner covers the remaining $390,000 budget.

We at the library are truly sorry the Farmingdale selectmen chose not to put participation with the Gardiner library on their warrant. Residents who wish to discuss the issue should call their town office at 582-2225, or call Anne Davis, director of the library, at 582-6893.

Helen Stevens

chairwoman, board of trustees

Gardiner Public Library

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