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Board approves party use at Ogdensburg library

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It’s time to pay up for private use of the Ogdensburg Public Library.

Private, paid use of the library’s upstairs auditorium is now allowed, thanks to an amendment to a building use policy that was agreed to Thursday by the library’s board of trustees. It was prompted by a request for a “library-themed” baby shower in the second-floor auditorium of the historic 312 Washington St. building, according to Director Wayne L. Miller.

“They want to have it there,” he said.

The baby shower party will be charged $75 for four hours of use by up to 80 people.

The library gets to charge a fee because it is a private event to which the public is not invited. Otherwise, there would be no charge.

Mr. Miller said he doesn’t expect the library to draw private party business away from the city’s showcase community building, the Dobisky Visitors Center at 100 Riverside Ave. That building has a large room with a divider for private functions, windows with panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River and the city marina, a privately run restaurant and a modern, fully equipped kitchen. The library cannot accommodate food preparation.

“We have a 90-year-old sink,” Mr. Miller said. “I can’t think of two more contrasting facilities.”

Board chairwoman Cathy C. Piche agreed.

“They’re (the Dobisky Center) not competition,” she said. “It’s not the same market.”

The library’s fees also won’t undercut the Dobisky Center’s rental rates. Besides the auditorium, the other charges upstairs are: the boardroom, $25 for three hours for up to 15 people; and the local history room, $20 for three hours for up to eight people.

Other area municipal libraries such as those in Lisbon, Canton and Potsdam charge rent for specific purposes, Mr. Miller said.

A year ago, the trustees agreed to allow an attorney use the boardroom to take depositions from witnesses for a court trial.

No fee for use was charged, but a donation was suggested.

“We never got one,” Mr. Miller said.

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