Town to aid library funding

The town of Stockholm has agreed to contribute $4,000 a year for the next two years to keep the Badenhausen Branch of the Massena Public Library open. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

WINTHROP — The town of Stockholm has joined with the town of Brasher and other contributors to keep the Badenhausen Branch of the Massena Public Library operating for at least the next two years.

Patricia McKeown, chairwoman of the Friends of the Badenhausen Library, said she received a call from Stockholm Town Supervisor Clark Decker, informing her that the board had agreed to provide $4,000 a year for the next two years from their American Rescue Plan funding.

The town’s contribution came after library supporters had met with the town board to discuss the future of the library, whose funding was scheduled to run out in January 2022.

Town of Brasher officials had also agreed to support the library using $20,000 of its American Rescue Plan funding per year for the next two years

“Stockholm will give us $4,000 for this year and another renewal. Brasher will give us $20,000 this year and another renewal next year,” Ms. McKeown said.

“We have not yet gone to the public to ask for public support. We know there are supporters. Facebook followers have been wonderful. Over 250 people have said, ‘Attagirl, go for it.’ So when I ask them for $100 or $1,000 or a million dollars, I don’t know, but I’m hopeful that people will put their money where their mouth is, and so far the boards have come through,” she said.

The library, located in the former Boothe Hardware Store, opened Dec. 11, 2014. It is named in honor of the late Dr. D. Susan Badenhausen, a retired physician, who donated $55,000 a year for at least three years for the library. Dr. Badenhausen died on Sept. 23, 2018.

The Massena Public Library has overseen its operation since its opening. Library officials announced in June 2016 that Dr. Badenhausen had pledged to continue her support of the Badenhausen Branch Library for another five years at the increased funding of $65,000 a year. That funding runs out in January.

Dr. Badenhausen’s donations paid for everything in the branch library, from furniture and computers, to two employees and bills like rent and electricity, to books, DVDs, magazines and newspapers. It also covered the cost of the renovation project, in which the contractor donated half his time.

“For the first year, we have $20,000 from the town of Brasher, we have $4,000 from the town of Stockholm, a private investor has agreed to support the library each of the next five years to the tune of $15,000 per year. There’s another private investor that’s willing to give $500 per year. Neither town will have to spend a nickel of public money because they’re going to use their COVID relief monies,” Ms. McKeown said.

That means the library will continue to offer patrons a variety of services — services that have been used well.

For 2019, there were 4,800 walk-in visits and a circulation of 5,455 books, DVDs and e-books. There were 351 cardholders from Brasher and 66 from Stockholm. The library’s Wi-Fi had 14,917 hits from individuals who sat outside in the front or back of the library to access the service.

“That’s more than Massena had,” Ms. McKeown said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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