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Museum proposed in library to raise revenues

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Budget concerns at Ogdensburg Public Library have its board of trustees trying to figure out ways to generate revenues.

“We need to bring money to us,” said chairwoman Cathy Piche at Thursday’s board meeting. “Can we generate some income to help keep the library going?”

The city’s proposed 2013 budget calls for a $605,995 budget for the library. That is $59,013 less than the $666,018 that was asked for. It is also $1,129 less than this year’s $608,214 budget.

Also, it has been proposed that $52,710 to match a state grant for window replacement and rehabilitation be borrowed via a packaged bond with between $280,000 and $300,000 for a pumper truck for the fire department and $122,000 for the parks and recreation department to buy a Zamboni ice maintenance vehicle for the rink at the Richard G. Lockwood Civic Center.

Board member Mary Margaret Small questioned why the $52,710 wasn’t just kept in the budget.

“Are we talking about such a big amount of money?” she said.

“We were told to take it out,” said Library Director Wayne L. Miller.

As for generating revenues, officials are considering the possibility of setting up a local museum in the library.

It could work because there are more than enough local artifacts and exhibit-worthy materials to fill a museum.

“The community has such a rich history,” Mr. Miller said Friday. “The question is if you build it, will they come?”

The library is also facing in the proposed budget a reduction in book purchase money, from a requested $35,000 to a recommended $30,911.

Meanwhile, the library also stands to lose its $11,000 appropriation from St. Lawrence County. In a letter sent Friday to all 15 county legislators, Friends of the Ogdensburg Public Library President Maureen Kravec made an appeal and a special offer.

“As a County resident and taxpayer, let me begin by thanking you for all your hard work in difficult circumstances as you juggle the needs for services with keeping tax increases to a minimum,” she wrote. “I reside in one of those wide swaths of the county that lack chartered library service. In my case, I tend to use the Ogdensburg Public Library. That is why I volunteer my services with the Friends of Ogdensburg Public Library. This group is committed to helping the library fill the gap between government support and our community’s demands for library services. The Friends donate or grant funds for everything from crafts supplies for children’s programs, to computer tables, to energy conservation equipment, to large print materials and audio books for those with failing eyesight. While we understand your dilemma, we are also deeply concerned about the total elimination of library funds from the 2013 county budget. That is why the Friends of Ogdensburg Public Library voted to award a grant of $197.39 to St. Lawrence County in support of our county’s libraries. This represents 10 percent of the net proceeds from our most recent used book sale. We request that you use this money to keep libraries on your list of active contract agencies. We further challenge you to at least match these funds as a show of good faith to recognize the valuable services delivered to ALL County library users. We are doing this to help the County and its libraries get through a very tough situation.”

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