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Extra state funding awarded to many north country public libraries

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POTSDAM - Several public libraries in Northern New York have been awarded a total of $285,000 in extra 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 North Country Public Library Systems.

“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.”

Construction grants totaling $200,000 will go to three St. Lawrence County libraries- Canton Free Library, Ogdensburg Public Library and Potsdam Public Library.

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

Here’s a breakdown of construction funding for the three St. Lawrence County libraries:

■ Potsdam Public Library - Allocated $18,438 to repair crumbling steps at the library’s front entrance.

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

■ Ogdensburg Public Library - Awarded $24,732 for masonry work on the building’s exterior.

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

“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 including 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:

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.

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