OSSINING, N.Y. After a defeat of the library budget in the spring, the new president of the Ossining Public Library's Board of Trustees has pledged to make the process more transparent to the public.
"There's a lot we need to do in terms of rebuilding public confidence. We have to involve the public sooner," said Art Jay, 67, who was sworn in as the library board president on Thursday.
Voters rejected a $4.2 million library budget in April. The library ended up adopting a $3.8 million budget that required cutting 14 hours of service per week and cutbacks in hours for part-time workers.
"Overall people like the library but they're not crazy about what it costs to run," Jay said.
The new board president feels that improved communication between the library and the public would lead to the community making decisions that "everyone is comfortable with."
Jay was a music teacher for the Ossining elementary schools for 32 years before retiring in 2002. He became involved with the Ossining library in 2009 after a board member who was a parent of a former student told him there was an opening on the board.
"It's time consuming but at least I feel like I'm spending my time well," Jay said of his volunteer library work. "I'm making a contribution and doing something meaningful. I'm not just sitting at home watching Judge Judy."
Aside from improving public outreach and communication, Jay would also like to involve local Hispanic-owned businesses in informing minorities about library services.
"Some minorities are not comfortable coming here. If we can get some Hispanic businesses to explain (how we operate), that might make them more comfortable coming here," Jay said.
Jay would also like to see the library's website updated so that all the events and programs that the library offers are listed on the calendar page.
"What we're doing here is terrific," Jay said. "I think publicity for our programs should be more easily accessible."
When not working on library issues, Jay enjoys traveling and playing petanque, a French game similar to bocce where hollow metal balls are thrown. He has joined a local petanque group that plays the game several times per week.
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