The Badenhausen Library in Brasher Falls will soon undergo some big changes.

Supporters formed a Friends of the Library organization to keep the facility open as a reading room. Much of the library’s funding will come to a halt at the end of the year, and turning it into a reading room will enable the site to continue functioning.

In late 2014, the Badenhausen Branch of the Massena Public Library in Brasher Falls opened its doors thanks to funding provided by the late Dr. D. Susan Badenhausen. It took over space previously used by Boothe Hardware Store in downtown Brasher Falls.

Badenhausen, who died in 2018, was a retired physician and a shareholder in St. Regis Realty Inc.; this company worked on revitalizing the downtown Brasher Falls corridor. Her donation offered the branch $55,000 a year for the first three years and $65,000 a year for an additional five years.

The town of Brasher agreed to fund its operations at $20,000 a year for the next two years. The money will come from its share of revenue from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, passed by Congress earlier this year. In addition, the town of Stockholm will contribute $4,000 a year for the next two years from its American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Additional fundraising for improvements to the facility will be more necessary once it becomes a reading room. It will no longer be eligible for state construction grants.

But it will still offer the same services it does now. It also will still be part of the North Country Library System. This means it will retain interlibrary loans and other services.

While modest in size, the Badenhausen Library serves a valuable service.

“For 2019, there were 4,800 walk-in visits and a circulation of 5,455 books, DVDs and e-books,” according to a story published Aug. 26 by the Watertown Daily Times. “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.”

Because the library is used by people from the towns of Brasher, Lawrence and Stockholm, its name will change to the Badenhausen Tri-Town Meeting Room and Business Center. Michelle First, a member of the Friends of the Library group, said many people rely on the facility for its copiers, fax machines, printers and the internet.

“People use that a lot,” she said in a Nov. 15 Watertown Daily Times article. “A lot of people just don’t have access to the internet, so that is available. And we decided that we really wanted to expand that business center part of this. So we’re partnering with [the Small Business Development Center].”

A great deal of work will be involved in keeping the reading room properly funded and operating sufficiently. But there are those committed to putting forth the effort to keep it going, and we commend them for their dedication.

We encourage people from Brasher, Lawrence and Stockholm to contribute financially or donate their time to help keep the reading room moving forward. It’s a community gem, and we hope residents appreciate its value.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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