Library Election - Special Edition - 2023

Message from the Director

Dear Community Members,

Spring has finally arrived and it is time for our upcoming budget and election vote here at Howland. This year the vote will be held on Thursday, April 27th, 2023, in the Community Room of the library. Absentee ballot applications can be obtained at the library or on the library website at Absentee ballots applications must be returned by 5:00 PM on April 26th.

The official completed ballot must be returned to the library no later than 5:00 PM on the day of the election/vote, Thursday, April 27, 2023.



The proposed increase this year is 7%. As always, the Board of Trustees is committed to keeping proposed increases reasonable while making progress to expand staff and services to meet community needs. For a full detailed look at the proposal please see our proposed budget document.

If the budget passes, it will enable the library to once again increase the number of e-books available to patrons, which continue to be in high demand. It will increase the budget for Hoopla, which supplies patrons with e-books, e-audiobooks, e-comics, movies, and music. Finally, it will allow for a salary reconfiguration, that would allow for staff members who hold a 4-year degree or higher to earn what is considered a livable wage in Dutchess County, based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator. The Board of Trustees is committed to the Library's ability to attract and retain outstanding staff members.

Trustee Election 

For the trustee election there are two five-year terms open. Four community members will be running at-large for the two open seats. The candidates are listed below along with their statements.

Thank you as always for your continuing support of Howland Public Library.  



Kristen Salierno, Director 

HPL Board of Trustees Election &

Library Budget Vote

Thursday, April 27, 12 - 8 PM

The Library will hold the annual budget vote and trustee election on Thursday, April 27th from 12 noon to 8 PM in the Library's Community Room. All registered voters in the Beacon City School District are eligible to vote. Absentee ballot applications are available at the library and online. Absentee ballots must be returned by 5:00 PM on Thursday, April 27th.

Absentee Ballot Application

Meet the Candidates

Joseph Vergolina

Hello, I’m Joe Vergolina. I have lived in Beacon for 15 years and my book addiction began at age 7 when I participated in my local library’s summer program (reading enough to earn an actual dinosaur bone fragment - Brontosaurus, upper thigh!).

I love school and learning and my degrees in Dramatic Writing (BFA, NYU) and Military History (Masters, Norwich University) highlight my twin passions, but I have made my living as a Strategic Account Director, which is corporate-speak for someone whose job it is to connect disparate groups and (contractually) facilitate beneficial outcomes for all involved. I feel this positions me well to serve as a trustee and navigate various groups/viewpoints in pursuit of what is best for the city. To me, a library is a communal cornerstone, a place where everyone is welcome and has equal access to knowledge, information, technology and, yes, entertainment.

I was motivated to put myself up for consideration because of my lifelong association with libraries and because I want to be an advocate to make sure others continue to have the opportunity and access they provide - and because I re-read Fahrenheit 451 and realized it wasn’t as fictional as it was when I first read it 30 years ago.

Margaret Watkinson

I am excited to be on the ballot and excited to join our library’s Board of Trustees. I moved to Beacon in 2011 after living in a college town on the mid-coast of Maine, and have been an early childhood and parenting educator most of my career. My experience serving as a board member in School Administrative District #75 and Holt Research Forest, both in Maine, as well as my experience as the founder of an inclusive preschool program, have all provided me with valuable opportunities to support a variety of avenues for lifelong learning. Supporting the mission of our public library as the place that provides so many free services and access to information is my goal.

I grew up immersed in books, strong in the belief that the public library was my place to discover new worlds, new viewpoints and topics, and relax and indulge new interests. I am a strong advocate for the mission of the library to provide resources, services and print materials for people and children from all walks of life. I look forward to supporting the library director and staff with the resources available to our community’s public library. I am firmly committed to spreading the word about the wonderful programs and services Howland Library offers, as well as helping to develop a clear vision for the future.

Emily Pullen

Emily Pullen is an avid reader and activist who has worked in libraries and independent bookstores for more than 20 years, most recently for the New York Public Library. Whether by recommending books or making sure that a library’s collection meets the needs of its patrons, her focus is on serving the community.

As a member of the Beacon Rising Choir and the steward of a Free Little Library, she loves being a part of a community that values books, music, and the arts as much as she does. And the Howland Library is integral to supporting all of those things here in Beacon.

Local businesses and public libraries have the power to strengthen our community fabric, even when their books, programs, and funding are threatened and wielded as weapons to divide us. It is important to have a Board that is willing to dig into the nuances of each issue and take a stand when necessary. Libraries should make communities stronger and provide access to all.

Elizabeth Murphy

Elizabeth Murphy is a poet and editor and director of Grid Books, a nonprofit publisher of poetry, fiction, and fine art editions. As an editor, she has dedicated her career to highlighting the work of older writers and artists and fostering projects generated through intergenerational exchange, such as those encompassing oral history and collaborations between students and their teachers. Her edition of literary correspondence, A Critical Friendship, was published in 2013 (University of Nebraska Press), and a collection of her poems, in the form of an exchange with the late poet Taylor Stoehr, was published in 2018 (Pressed Wafer).

Elizabeth holds a BA in Media Studies, an MA in Literary Editing, and a certification in Instructional Design. As the director of a small press, she is familiar with the day-to-day concerns of a nonprofit and its board, and is experienced in grant writing and fundraising. She is also keenly aware of the challenges that libraries and publishers currently face when it comes to making books available and accessible to the public. She hopes to bring this experience and understanding to the role, as well as her dedication to issues of the accessibility and preservation of texts of all kinds.