Small library running out of money, wrestles with future

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 10:45 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BRASHER FALLS, N.Y. (WWNY) - A unique, small town library will run out of funds at the end of this year. What to do? They’re wrestling with that question now in the town of Brasher.

It’s the little storefront library that could. It opened in 2014 in Brasher Falls in a former hardware store. Like any other, it has books, videos, computers and WiFi.

“The library is here. People appreciate it. They appreciate the work that went into it,” said Pat McKeown, Friends of Badenhausen Library chairwoman.

The late Dr. Susan Badenhausen funded the library’s startup. But her donation of $65,000 per year for operating it runs out in December.

“We all know that that’s coming. So what do we do about that,” said McKeown.

The library is operated by the Massena Public Library. All expenses are covered by the Badenhausen donation. The Brasher town council has discussed the issue. It says it can’t support the tax increase it would take to raise $65,000 per year.

“It’s 60 cents per thousand (of assessed valuation) to fund the budget - that’s the library. It’s not doable,” said Mark Peets, Brasher town supervisor.

But Peets said the town is open to discussing solutions. Library officials envision some kind of basic town support. Then maybe grants and fundraising could cover the rest.

“We really are passionate about keeping the library open in that small town,” said Elaine Dunne, Massena Library director.

“The books, the WiFi, it’s all important. But they say this library is important for another reason as well. It helps keep the block of Main Street in Brasher Falls vital.

There’s health care there, a diner, post office, liquor store and grocery. You can’t grab a box of nails or hammer there anymore. But you can grab a book, video or magazine.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.