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A Ledyard library may be a state budget casualty

LEDYARD --  While municipalities wait to see what the state budget holds for them, many communities still plan to move forward with serious cuts, including Ledyard, where the book will be closed on a beloved library.

Given Ledyard's $1.5 million reduction in state aid, under the Governor's current executive order, Ledyard's Mayor, Fred Allyn III, said he had no choice but to shut down the Gales Ferry Library, which is the smallest of the town's two libraries.

The decision to close the library, at the end of this month, came after the Mayor consulted with Ledyard's newly formed budget transformation committee.

"We determined it was $120,000 to $130,000 of payroll savings," said Allyn.

But those numbers are being disputed by library advocates.

"At the (library commission) meeting last night, we determined, because of contractual obligations, and because of union rules and stuff like that, we're only looking at $63,000," said John Bolduc, Chairman of the Ledyard Library Commission..

Under the mayor's plan, the several union employees, working at the Gales Ferry Library, will be moved over to the town's much larger Bill Library.

"But, it will come at a cost of 15 to 16 part-timers that currently work between both facilities," Allyn noted.

One long time patron said she utilizes the library at least three times a week

"Our girls all went to summer reading here," said Sharon Butler of Gales Ferry. "We come and use all the services and we like their muffin Tuesday."

An alternative, Bolduc suggests, should be staggered hours between Gales Ferry and Bill.

"In other words, keep this library open some days," Bolduc said. "Maybe reduce the hours and keep Bill open some days."

If the state budget doesn't prove to be conducive to Ledyard, and the Gales Ferry Library indeed closes, many organizations are going to have to find new meeting spots.