The Importance of Schroon's Library

To the Editor:

The Schroon Lake Public Library Board of Trustees wishes to announce that progress is being made as we plan for the expansion the library.

To its credit, the Town of Schroon Town Council has approved bonding $1.1 million over 30 years for the expansion of the Town Court and the Library. This would result in a tax of $9/year for a home with assessed valuation of $100,000.

Built in 1979 with federal funding secured by the library, the current municipal building houses the court, the library, the supervisor’s office, as well as the offices of the secretary to the supervisor, the town clerk, the town assessor and the codes enforcement officer. In addition, a meeting room is available to the public on a first come basis.

Now, 37 years later, two areas greatly need to be expanded. The Town Court does not have a separate entrance. There is no effective room for lawyer-client consultations. People have to stand around in the hallway while they await their appearance before the judge.

Library patrons and town employees must thread their way through the people who are waiting.

The library is essentially “bulging at the seams.”

Libraries of today are so much more than our grandparents’ library, which in today’s view would be little more than a bookmobile in a fixed position.

Today, physical books are still a large part of a library. Many of our patrons prefer to read a “real book” rather than a digital one. However, added to those physical books are digital media such as music CDs, audio CDs, and DVDs. There are computers on hand that permit patrons to search the internet; digitally search and apply for jobs and search and borrow from the CEFLS library system’s physical books as well as eBooks and media.

Children’s programs include summer reading contests; make and take; story time and many more. Programs for adults include a book discussion group; a writers’ group; drawing and painting sessions and much more.

In the Clinton, Essex, Franklin Library System, the Schroon Lake Public Library has the 4th highest (of 30 libraries) book and media circulation, after the Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake and Malone libraries (all much larger cities.)

But we are only 18th of the 30 for square footage of floor space. The average amount of circulation per square foot for the system is 3.9 per 1 sq. ft. However, Schroon Lake’s library’s circulation is 15.7 per 1 sq. ft. Clearly our library is experiencing very heavy usage.

The new addition will provide the court and the library with an additional 2,500 square feet of space each. The court can thus be brought up to today’s safety standards, and the library will have the room it needs for all the usage it covers.

Currently the Library Board of Trustees is applying for the first year of a potential three-year construction grant from New York State Library Development office. With the local 25 percent contribution, this could amount to $100,000. In addition, our state senator Betty Little secured a grant for the court and library of another $100,000. Also, the Schroon Lake Friends of the Library has for several years raised tens of thousands of dollars for the furnishing of the interior of the expanded space.

But construction costs have increased significantly, so we do invite anyone to provide additional support. Contributions can be made to The Schroon Lake Public Library. Eventually there will be naming rights for significant spaces and equipment.

Finally, I encourage all residents to attend the Town Council Board meeting on Monday evening, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. to support our court and library, and our hardworking Town Board as we all move forward on this municipal expansion project.


Marion O. Weaver, President

Board of Trustees

Schroon Lake Public Library