Wilton Library Association covers deficit

The Wilton Library Association is running an $86,950 deficit for the fiscal year just ended, mostly due to declining revenues as Netflix and movie streaming have reduced movie rentals.

The bulk of the deficit was a charge of $60,000 for a new telephone system.

“On the revenue side, our revenue was down, rental income is down, late-fee income is down, our state grant is down from last year, and we have a significant other gift area that was well below,” said Glenn Hemmerle, president of the library association, who addressed the Board of Selectmen during a special meeting Aug. 8.

The town funding for the library is $2.7 million, which represents 75% of the operating funds. The rest of the money comes from fundraising.

“It’s getting more and more difficult in town to raise the money,” he said.

In the end, the association did not have to ask the town for more money. The deficit was covered by what’s known as restricted funds revenue, from an annual appeal, donations and fundraising events.

Hemmerle acknowledged that the Friends of the the Library, a group of regular donors, has become weaker in recent years because some big donors have left town.

The annual appeal was down 9% from the previous year and donations were down 38%, but income from fundraising events was up 13%.

Library officials expect to focus on more fundraising and finding key donors, Hemmerle said.