BRASHER FALLS - Brashers town supervisor is wondering if there could be other options for bringing a library-type facility to the community if a proposal to place a branch of the Massena Public Library in the hamlet of Brasher Falls is on the ballot and rejected in November by voters concerned with its impact on their property taxes.
Supervisor M. James Dawson pointed out the town of Hopkinton has an annual allocation of $9,000 for its library compared to the proposed $56,000 cost for opening a branch library in downtown Brasher Falls.
Emily Owen, a consultant with the North Country Public Library, told Mr. Dawson the Hopkinton library is not a chartered library. They have a civic organization, she said.
She said the Hopkinton concept poses some potential issues. You wouldnt be a library so you wouldnt be eligible for state funding and grants. Hopkinton has approached us several times about becoming a chartered library, she pointed out.
But Ms. Owen said that concept might be an option. If it (branch library) doesnt pass, we would deal with what the next step would be, what people want. This started as a grassroots effort. Maybe this is some sort of volunteer thing that could be the seed for a library, she said.
The proposed location of the branch library in Crapser Hall on the second floor of the Boothe Building in downtown Brasher Falls had also raised concerns at last weeks Brasher Town Board meeting.
Brasher Code Enforcement Officer Robert Forbes questioned the choice of placing the library on the second floor of a building. I dont think it is an ideal location being on the second floor. Those stairs are pretty rickety, he suggested.
His concerns were shared by Helena resident Jane Lantry.
I dont know how they picked that building, she said, questioning whether library officials had included the cost of heating the large open space that would serve as the library in its operational budget. Library officials stressed those calculations had been made.
Ms. Owen said an elevator provides access to the second floor of the Boothe Building, and she said the landlord would be asked to address concerns with the stairs if the library branch is located in the Boothe Building. She also noted the century-old Hepburn libraries in Waddington, Norfolk and Colton are located on the second floor of their buildings.
Brasher resident Keitha Arquiett questioned plans for staffing the facility if the proposition for a branch library was approved by Brasher voters.
Ideally we would like to have a person from the community staff the library. We wouldnt want to have to keep sending a person down here from Massena, Massena Public Library Director Elaine Dunne-Thayer said.
She said the plans call for staffing the facility 15 hours per week, and the hours of operation would be determined following consultation with local residents.
We would do a survey to determine what would best serve the community. We would like to be open one or two mornings a week so we could include a childrens program, run a pre-school story hour once a week. We would also be looking for assistance from volunteers, Ms. Dunne-Thayer said.