Ogdensburg Public Library Sees Cuts In Hours, Staff

Ogdensburg Public Library Sees Cuts In Hours, Staff

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It's a decision the library staff was prepared for, but one that still takes a toll. A few weeks back, Ogdensburg City Council decided to cut the public library's budget by $54,000.

Penny Kerfien serves as the library's executive director. She says between last year and this year, the library has lost quite a bit of money.

"In 2017, we took almost a $39,000 cut. We were informed a couple weeks ago that we will be taking a $54,000 cut. Between the two years, it'll be almost $94,000," she said.

This cut is forcing the library to remove a part-time page position, which is usually filled by a high school student. On top of that, facility hours have been cut back by two hours on Saturdays.

New York state mandates that all central libraries stay open for 55 hours per week. And in light of the recent budget cuts, Ogdensburg Public Library will now be open at that minimum.

"I think it will have a slight impact on it, but we're in a tight spot too with our finances and certain cuts had to be made," said Ogdensburg Mayor Wayne Ashley.

Although the budget cuts create a challenge, Kerfien says it's not enough for the library to lose its purpose completely.

"This is where they go to find information, to talk to friends, to use computers, It's not all about books anymore. It's become a community center," she said.

Kerfien says despite the budget cuts, things will continue to run smoothly. As for what's next, future board meetings will determine where things go from here.

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