Dear Friends:

The Board of the Friends would like to update you regarding certain important steps that we have been taking.

As you recall, you were asked to vote by email on two important issues, since COVID-19 prevented us from having our March general meeting.  The first was for authorization for the Board to enact a 2020-2021 budget.  The second was for a continuing resolution for the present Board to remain in place until such time as our annual meeting and the election at such meeting could take place. The first question passed 22-0; the second question passed 20-2 out of those who cast their votes.

At our last Board meeting, which took place virtually on April 7, 2020, a budget was discussed and unanimously approved.  A copy of that budget will be sent to you in a separate email. As you will see, it is an austerity budget, based upon the closing of the Yellow Barn and the subsequent closing of the Library, which houses our new Yellow Barn South.  Please know that much thought and discussion went into the preparation and passage of this budget.  The overwhelming guiding opinion of our Board is that, based on the reality of our situation, it appears impossible for our beloved Yellow Barn to reopen for the 2020 season. Sadly, the potential for it to reopen for the 2021 season decreases each day.  The extent of the repairs necessary to put it into a safe condition has yet to be determined by the Library Board of Trustees. At this point, fewer than three contractors have even expressed interest in this project; given the onset of COVID-19, even this search is on hold. In view of all of this, we wanted to share with you the approved budget and discuss the major points therein.

Until the Yellow Barn is safely repaired, the Library  has graciously given us space in the lower stacks for sales of our used books.  We have named it the “Yellow Barn South”. However, that is now closed, as well, until the Library reopens. As a result, we have no idea whatsoever how much we will be able to generate in sales this coming fiscal year.  Past revenues from sales of books in the Library were well under $1000.00 each year, so we utilized that amount as income in our budget.  It is, truth be told, a best guess as the Library remains closed.

However, even taking into account the realities of the income side of our budget, we are happy to report some good news.  The Piano Plus Concert Series is fully funded. We have received $5,500.00 in generous donations from the Pike and Overton families which were earmarked for this Series. We thank both families for their continuing support, which allows us to bring classical music to Riverhead. Hopefully, the Library will be open and gatherings will be permitted, perhaps with some distancing specifications, in time for our first, fall concert.
Now we must turn to our expenses for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

In light of the closure of the Yellow Barn for an indeterminate amount of time, the Board recommended, and the membership approved, a substantial decrease in the amount of money to be given to the Library in accordance with its Wish List for 2020-21.  The total amount which will be given is $10,480.00.

We have also been forced to cut back in many other areas.  This year, we are offering only one scholarship instead of two. We have reduced other expenses to the bare minimum.  We are acting as prudently as possible. There are only three areas which we will continue to fund at the previous level: our outreach and commitment to our Veterans; our child literacy program (1000 Books Before Kindergarten); the PEACE Photography Event.

You will also see an expense of $6,000.00 for the rental of a POD.  This is to store our books from the Yellow Barn while the repairs take place.
Even with paring our expenses, we will still have a deficit of $22,745.00 for this coming fiscal year.  This amount of deficit is clearly not sustainable in subsequent years, given our limited assets. We need to resolve the problem of the Yellow Barn as quickly and judiciously as possible.  We need a safe, visible and accessible space to sell our used books as soon as we are able to do so, and until the Yellow Barn (or some other acceptable location) is available to us. It is, after all, our mission, as stated in our bylaws, to raise money and to help support our Library.

Believe me, to present this scenario to you is upsetting.  However, I must be transparent and present the facts as they are, so you know where we stand and we can all work together to attempt to solve this problem.  Ideas for fundraising are welcome and wanted.

Recently, your Board, together with the Library Board of Trustees, prepared two packets for submission to our New York State legislators. We asked for funding and the responses seemed to be promising until COVID-19 engulfed us.

As so many have said, we are now in uncharted territory.  However, I know that if we work together, everything is possible. We will solve this problem, maybe not in the same way as in the past, but it will be solved.

Most importantly, please stay safe and stay healthy.

Improve your mind while we stay home!  Visit our Library virtually. The Library has many exciting and creative offerings online. Take advantage!

Mary Kromhout