Ogdensburg Public Library Receives Library System Award for Promoting Successful Referendum | Donations to the community
OGDENSBURG – The Ogdensburg Public Library received an Excellence in Advocacy for Libraries Award from the North Country Library System for its work promoting a referendum campaign for additional funding last spring.
In May, a referendum on the Ogdensburg City School District Budget Vote was passed to provide $ 225,000 in funding for the Ogdensburg Public Library. The referendum was called after the city of Ogdensburg told the library that 2021 will be the last year the municipality will provide funding for the library located at 312 Washington St.
Library officials said it takes about $ 350,000 a year to operate the facility and deliver programs. It was the third referendum since 2017 to be backed by voters in the city of Ogdensburg school district in a vote on the school budget. A total of $ 125,000 was raised by the library following successful referendums in 2017 and 2018. A levy vote in 2019 for $ 75,000 was rejected.
Library director Penny Kerfien said the award was due to “the hard work of the committee that spearheaded the successful referendum campaign.”
“It means the community wants the library to be successful and open. The work that has been done on the referendum has been great and it has shown the community what the library is and does ”, said Kerfien,“ I would like to thank the community and everyone who helped in the referendum and showed their support in one of many ways – writing letters, having a garden sign, delivering the garden signs, donating time and money and giving their full support to this library, which is the community center from Ogdensburg.
Library Board Chair Michelle McLagan, on behalf of the Ogdensburg Public Library Board of Directors, thanked the committee that met to work to secure enough votes to pass at an overwhelming majority in the referendum on financing.
“The committee members worked tirelessly to spread the word, explain the benefits of library services to our community and do whatever they could to get the ‘yes’ vote. All of our administrators, library friends, staff and volunteers have worked together to provide the best possible service over many difficult and challenging years. Our Executive Director, Penny Kerfien, is the glue that holds all of these moving parts together, and our city owes the library’s success to her leadership, ”said McLagan.
Matt Corey, a consultant from the North Country Library System, presented the award to Kerfien.
“Their road has been long and difficult, including a history of challenges for their funding. As all of the library staff and administrators here know, it is difficult to operate the library on a tight budget. In addition, there are often difficulties in simply securing funding from this budget, ”said Corey,“ In the face of these challenges, advocacy can be a crucial part of success. After a history of municipal funding cuts and other impending cuts that may have closed their doors, this library has embarked on a remarkable and strong advocacy campaign to secure sustainable funding on the schools ballot.
Corey said the following has been done by the city library: A council sub-committee has been put in place to help manage the campaign and strategy; they coordinated with their group of friends who actively communicated with the community on the issues and the referendum; supporters of the library sent letters to the editor of local newspapers, stressing the value of the library and how crucial it was that they pass their referendum; the library manager was in constant contact with the media, addressing both difficult questions and comments with grace; and library supporters showed up at city council meetings.
“Thanks to their efforts, their school district’s vote recorded a record turnout, with voters overwhelmingly choosing to support the library. They secured an additional $ 225,000 in funding, bringing their total to $ 350,000 and ensured that the library would keep its doors open. This voter approval is more than money, it is recognition that the community supports their library and trusts their staff and administrators, ”said Corey,“ There is still a long way to go, but I Personally am incredibly proud of the efforts of directors, staff, friends, and in particular Director Penny Kerfien. For exemplary advocacy efforts that communicated the value of the library and secured sustainable funding vital for future success, I would like to present the Excellence in Library Advocacy Award to the Ogdensburg Public Library.