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Extra state funding awarded to many north country public libraries

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Several public libraries in Northern New York have been awarded a total of $285,000 in state funding to help pay for renovation and construction projects, technology upgrades and other improvements.

The extra funding will allow libraries to make upgrades they can’t afford on their own, said Stephen B. Bolton, director of the North Country Library System.

“These technology and construction projects would not happen without this additional state money,” Mr. Bolton said. “It’s very difficult for libraries to save for substantial construction projects.”

Six libraries will share $200,000 in construction grants: Canton Free Library, Ogdensburg Public Library, Potsdam Public Library, Cape Vincent Community Library, Clayton’s Hawn Memorial Library and Lyme Free Library, Chaumont.

Each of the libraries submitted a grant application and agreed to pay matching funds toward its individual projects, Mr. Bolton said.

The largest grant, $95,004, has been awarded to Lyme Free Library, which plans to build a 700-square-foot addition that will house a handicapped-accessible bathroom, an emergency exit and extra space for the library’s collection, Mr. Bolton said.

Here’s a breakdown of construction funding for the other north country libraries:

n Canton Free Library — $5,923 to install new windows and to install a sliding wall partition in the basement’s Paige Room.

n Ogdensburg Public Library — $24,732 for masonry work on the building’s exterior.

n Potsdam Public Library — $18,438 to repair crumbling steps at the library’s front entrance.

n Cape Vincent Community Library — $69,620 for roof work, new insulation and installation of a ramp at the library’s front entrance.

n Hawn Memorial Library — $9,820 that will be used to restructure the basement into usable space and install new cellar doors.

In announcing the funding, Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, said libraries are a vital part of communities and provide families with educational and recreational services they might not be able to access otherwise.

“This funding will allow patrons to continue using critical resources such as the Internet, job training programs and tax-filing services,” Mrs. Russell said in an emailed statement.

A separate $85,000 pool of state funding will be shared by 25 north country libraries: 15 in Jefferson County, six in St. Lawrence County and four in Oswego County.

Those grants were secured by state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, who serves on the newly created state Senate Select Committee on Libraries.

She noted that the special funding is in addition to the $4 million increase in this year’s state budget for libraries.

Each of the following libraries will receive a $3,000 grant:

n In Jefferson County: Macsherry Library in Alexandria Bay, Crosby Public Library in Antwerp, Philomathean Free Library in Belleville, Sally Ploof Hunter Memorial Library in Black River, Cape Vincent Community Library, Carthage Free Library, Hawn Memorial Library in Clayton, Depauville Free Library, East Hounsfield Free Library, Ellisburg Free Library, Evans Mills Public Library, Orleans Public Library in LaFargeville, Mannsville Free Library, Hay Memorial Library in Sackets Harbor and Theresa Free Library.

n St. Lawrence County: Hammond Free Library, Hepburn Library of Hermon, Hepburn Library of Lisbon, Hepburn Library of Madrid, Morristown Public Library and Richville Free Library.

n Oswego County: Parish Public Library, Phoenix Public Library, Pulaski Public Library and Williamstown Library.

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