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Library will get surplus books

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OGDENSBURG — From Washington to Ogdensburg, the books are on their way.

Ogdensburg Public Library soon will take delivery of 40 to 50 children’s books that are currently part of surplus at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The transaction has its origins in last Monday’s visit to the library by U.S. Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh. While being shown around by Director Wayne L. Miller, Mr. Owens discovered they were kindred spirits.

Mr. Owens, it turns out, was a member of the board of trustees at the public library in Plattsburgh for 10 years.

That made Mr. Miller realize Mr. Owens has an idea of what the library is all about, Mr. Miller said Friday.

Mr. Owens said that no federal programs exist to subsidize local libraries. But he had a suggestion that seemed like the next best thing: Tap the Library of Congress for its vast inventory of surplus books.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to facilitate the gift of these books from the Library of Congress to Ogdensburg Public Library,” Mr. Owens said Friday via e-mail. “Our schools and libraries are seeing budget cuts on both state and federal levels and we as a community must come together to ensure that the development of our children is not hurt by tough economic times.”

The congressman’s staff went to work on it.

“From time to time, the Library of Congress has a surplus of books that are free for Congressional offices to take and send down to libraries in their district,” said Sean Magers, House director of communications. “We’ve done this periodically with various libraries. After Congressman Owens visited Ogdensburg Public Library last week, he asked the staff in D.C. to see if there were extra children’s books available in the Library of Congress. As luck would have it, there were, so we packed up a box and shipped it to our Watertown office.”

“We hope to have it over to the library in Ogdensburg in the next week or two,” Mr. Magers said.

Mr. Miller got the good news on Friday.

“Wonderful,” he said. “That was very thoughtful” of Mr. Owens.

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