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Proposed Peninsula library budget remains flat

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The past year has brought many changes to the usual manner of life because of the coronavirus pandemic and libraries were no different. Forced to close because of the Covid-19 virus, libraries found other ways to serve their patrons.

Peninsula Public Library that serves the communities included in the Lawrence School District, implemented curbside pickup and virtual programming, while adding more than 30,000 items to its collection and bagged 70,648 books to go for its cardholders.

“It’s been a challenge every day,” said Library Director Carolynn Matulewicz, “We’re trying to do the best we can.” That best includes accommodating patrons by helping them print items and bringing materials out to their cars.

Understanding the financial challenges many patrons are facing through the pandemic, library officials said that they think its their fiscal responsibility to present a budget that does not add to that burden.

The proposed budget for 2021-2022 remains the same as the current fiscal plan: $3,108,250.

Matulewicz said that though PPL has not served as many patrons as normal, cardholders have taken to the virtual Zoom programming set up by Program Coordinator Janet Schneider with many Florida snowbirds even tuning in, Matulewicz said.

“We are still one of the top circulating libraries in Nassau County,” Matulewicz said, adding that as chair of the county’s library director committee she hears all the challenges libraries face. “We received a card with a $100 for the staff. Our patrons are so thankful and that is our reward in all this.”

Even when life returns to “normal” PPL will maintain contactless pickup with lockers patrons can open with their library card to pick up materials at their convenience, Matulewicz said, as well doing programming as a hybrid of in-person and remote access.

Incumbent Trustee Jeff Leb, 42, is not running for a third five-year term. Because of an issue with a possible candidate’s petitions there is no official candidate. The person with the most write-in votes will win the board seat.

Budget and trustee voting is on Tuesday, May 11 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., along with the school budget and trustee vote. Voting takes place at the Primary School at the Number Two School at 1 Donahue Ave. in Inwood; Lawrence Middle School at 195 Broadway in Lawrence; Lawrence High School at 2 Reilly Road in Lawrence; and Atlantic Beach Village at 65 The Plaza in Atlantic Beach.