2024 election and budget vote

Bethlehem Public Library has a proposed budget of $4.98 million for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The levy portion of the budget comes in at about $4.6 million, a 4.32 percent increase over last year.

This spending plan allows the library to continue to meet a growing demand for materials and programming while keeping costs under the state-mandated spending cap.

Bethlehem Central School District residents will vote on the budget
Tuesday, May 21, from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. at Bethlehem Central High School.

Click here for the library’s 2024-25 budget (pdf).

Click here for absentee ballot and voting information.

There are three open trustee seats. Running for a seat on the board are (in ballot order):

Click on a name to read the candidate’s submitted bio.

The Board of Trustees will hold a public budget review at their Monday, May 13, meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. 

A letter from the Bethlehem Public Library Board of Trustees:

A commitment to service

The 2024-25 budget supports Bethlehem Public Library’s commitment to our community by investing in both the materials and the people that are at the heart of what we do.

Our spending on materials remains steady as we continue to curate a robust physical collection while adding in-demand e-materials and digital audiobooks. Our circulation topped 640,000 items last year, with no sign of slowing down. Although spending on DVDs and audiobooks on CDs is decreasing slightly due to reduced demand, those collections aren’t going away. We understand that access is important, and with streaming platforms in constant flux, we intend to have an audio/visual collection you can count on for years to come.

This year’s budget sees increases in the personnel line following last year’s salary negotiations that recognize the contributions of all employees in providing the high level of library service our patrons deserve. These adjustments, along with a five-year labor contract, have led to stability following a challenging period of rapid post-pandemic turnover. Our part-time staff are instrumental in the library’s ability to be open for 12 hours a day on the weekdays, as well as weekends, and this budget allows us to bring their pay rate into parity with their full-time counterparts. We are also incrementally increasing our contribution to the family health plan as we recognize the impact of health care expenses. As a service-driven organization, we know that happy employees provide the best service, and we are working hard to encourage and facilitate a healthy work-life balance.

Last year we set out to increase the number of programs we offered to library-goers of all ages – and we did! Attendance at our events tripled, going from just over 12,000 to nearly 37,000. This year, we’re devoting even more of our budget to these opportunities to promote literacy, lifelong learning and entertainment.

Our 2024-25 budget also reflects an increase in interest income to help offset new expenses, with rates expected to remain high through the end of the year.

As a library, we are dedicated to providing our community the highest level of access and service, and we believe the 2024-25 budget will allow us to do that. On the ballot this year is a levy of $4.59 million, which is 4.32% higher than last year, within the limit specified by New York State.

— Bethlehem Public Library Board of Trustees

Comments are closed.