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May 1, 2014

Supporters optimistic as library vote looms

Voters in the Cooperstown Central School District will have the opportunity to change the way the Village Library of Cooperstown and the Kinney Memorial Library in Hartwick are funded on May 20.

“We feel once people have the information they’re likely to vote for it,” said Peg Odell, a volunteer with the Friends of the Village Library.

The Cooperstown library is funded by the municipalities of the village of Cooperstown, the towns of Otsego and Middlefield and the Cooperstown Central School. However, while village residents make up about 34 percent of the library’s card holders, the village provides 74 percent of the funds for its operation, in addition to providing the building, utilities, treasury and accounting services and custodial services for the library.

Kim Jastremski, president of the library board, said that this discrepancy has become a concern for the village government.

“We’ve been in discussion with the village for several years,” said Jastremski, who said that the situation is not viewed as sustainable.

The Kinney Memorial Library is funded entirely by the town of Hartwick. However, Jastremski notes, that the funding source puts it into competition with other budget items annually in Hartwick. 

“That is not a reliable source of funding,” said Jastremski.

Jastremski said that she doesn’t know if the Kinney Memorial Library has been subject to recent budget cuts, but that the village library has not. However, she said that she has been informed by the village that cuts will be coming if the current funding regime is not changed.

“We have been informed by the village that cuts are pending,” said Jastremski.

Jastremski said that the two library boards explored a variety of options, before deciding on their current course of action: Putting the library budget on the May 20 school-budget ballot. While 25 signatures were required to put the budget resolution on the ballot, Jastremski said that the libraries collected 290.

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