2023-24 budget and election news – Spotlight News


2023-24 budget and election news

Bethlehem Public Library has a proposed budget of $4.73 million for the 2023-24 fiscal year. The levy portion of the budget comes in at about $4.4 million, a 2.18 percent increase over last year and within the state-mandated spending cap.

This spending plan allows the library to continue to meet a growing post-pandemic desire for materials and programming while being mindful of potential economic uncertainties like inflation and energy costs.

“The number of checkouts we’ve been seeing lately is approaching what we saw in 2019, and that’s great news,” said library director Geoffrey Kirkpatrick. “We’re also seeing more people coming through the door looking for the educational opportunities and community connection that are unique to libraries. This budget allows us to keep up with that demand.”

A detailed budget chart and letter from the Board of Trustees are included in the May/June issue of the Footnotes newsletter, which will be mailed April 24, and available online at

There are two trustee seats on the ballot, held by incumbents Mark Kissinger and Caroline Brancatella, who are both seeking re-election. A full list of 2023 candidates will be available on the library’s website following the petition deadline of April 17.

A Meet the Candidates night will be held Wednesday, May 3, at 6 p.m., and the Board of Trustees will hold a public budget review at their Monday, May 8, meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Bethlehem Central School District residents will vote on the budget Tuesday, May 16, from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. at Bethlehem Central High School.

Relax and read outside 

This spring, you’re invited to spend some time in our welcoming outdoor nook just off the Children’s Place filled with fun-sized furniture and whimsical decorations. The Ian Boegel Memorial Patio is just the place to hang out and enjoy sunny days with your library friends.

Read, relax or make your mark with a colorful chalk creation! With the Memorial Patio, our young visitors are invited to enjoy the library inside and out.

A story and a stroll 

While you’re enjoying the library outside, why not take a Story Stroll around the building? Our newly installed Story Stroll at the library features the beautifully illustrated “Wish” by Chris Saunders. You can start your adventure at the Delaware Avenue entrance and follow Rabbit as he shares his three wishes with his best friends. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a sunny day and stretch your legs!

Friends Book Sale Fundraiser 

Coming soon! Stock up on some new-to-you books and DVDs this spring at the Friends of Bethlehem Public Library’s Pop-Up Book Sale on the library plaza Saturday, May 20 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For sale will be books and other materials that have been removed from the library collection and are in excellent condition. Many are duplicate copies of popular titles, and large print titles will be available.

Pricing is cash-only by suggested donation; the Friends will not be able to make change.

Enjoy some live music while you shop, with performers scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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