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Prendergast Library Endowment Fund Turns A Profit

At one point during 2020, the James Prendergast Library Board of Trustees had concerns about its endowment fund with the large downturns in the stock market during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, according to board treasurer, Michael Corey, the library’s endowment fund increased last year. Corey shared the good news with the rest of the board during its board meeting last week.

Corey said at the start of 2020 the endowment fund had $6.5 million and ended the year with more than $7.4 million, an increase of more than $900,000. He said during the first quarter of the year when the library had to shutdown because of the pandemic, the board withdrew an additional $94,000 from the endowment fund to assist in paying for facility operations. However, when the stock market stopped its free fall and started to improve, the board didn’t withdraw any additional funding during the second, third and fourth financial quarters.

Corey said even with the shutdown of the library from March 15 to July 1 because of the pandemic, the library raised more money than originally budgeted. He said the library raised $89,000 during 2020, $15,000 more than what library officials estimated in the 2020 budget.

“It’s amazing (the library was able to raise more than budgeted) with the difficult spot because of the pandemic and we didn’t even have all of our fundraisers,” he said. “What a difference it makes when we are getting support from the community.”

In other business, Tress Williams, library manager, gave a presentation to the board on the library’s collection of materials. She said as a co-central library, the Prendergast Library just doesn’t provide materials to people who visit the facility located at 509 Cherry St. in Jamestown. She said all the libraries in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties can request materials from the Prendergast Library.

“This makes it all the more important that we have an extensive collection with quality materials,” she said.

Williams said the staff automatically orders the best-selling books, with a wide range of genres from science fiction to romance to suspense. She said library officials order non-fiction materials regularly to have the most up-to-date information, especially when it comes to medical and law books.

Williams said one of the library’s goals this year is to expand the collection of multimedia resources, which includes ebooks, audio books and DVDs. She said it’s important for the library to have the newest materials available.

“We’re excited to move in that direction,” she said.

Annie Greene, library executive director, discussed the 2021 revised disaster plan for the library, which the board approved. She said the largest change to the disaster plan was to include the policies the library board passed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, the board approved the library’s pandemic reopening policy. Green said the new policy will supersede the board’s former child safety and rules of conduct policies.

The board also approved a security camera policy during the meeting. Greene said the policy outlines the library’s video surveillance capabilities. She said that signs will be posted outside and inside the library alerting patrons of the use of security cameras.

This was the first board meeting for new president, Dan Hickman, who was approved to the position last month. Hickman replaced Joni Blackman as president. The new board officers also included Ned Lindstrom as vice president and Lori Fabritius as assistant treasurer and secretary. Micki McCray will continue as board secretary along with Corey as treasurer.

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