Preston - The Preston Public Library has lost its federal nonprofit status, town officials learned this week, but the problem was dubbed a paperwork error dating back about two years and will not affect library operations.
"We're not shutting down the library," Ann Legler, president of the Library Board of Trustees, said Friday.
First Selectman Robert Congdon raised the issue Thursday evening during the Board of Selectmen meeting. He said the town received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service a few days earlier indicating the library - run by a separate board but mostly funded by the town - had not filed proper reports to maintain its nonprofit status.
Town and school Finance Director Robert Sirpenski was helping the library handle and already had submitted some paperwork to the IRS, Congdon said. Sirpenski could not be reached for comment.
Congdon expressed mild concern during the selectmen's first meeting with attorney Duncan Forsyth, of the newly appointed town law firm Halloran & Sage. Congdon asked Forsyth whether the town faced any restrictions with its annual budget contribution of about $100,000 if the library was not legally a nonprofit. Forsyth is expected to report back on the issue.
Legler attributed the problem to turnover in directors. She said the director of about two years ago was handling the paperwork and likely failed to submit the report. She said the library Board of Trustees has never been involved in filing the reports.
"It's always been the director's responsibility to take care of these things," Legler said. "The ball got dropped somehow."
The library recently named longtime library staff member and assistant director Sue Brosnan as the new director.
Legler said Brosnan received the letter from the IRS and began working with Sirpenski to file the reports.
"(Sirpenski) is looking into it and helping us regain the nonprofit status," Legler said. "We're working on it. It's just a matter of filling out another form."