I was astounded to see Ogdensburg Mayor Mike Skelly attack the Ogdensburg Public Library in an interview on local television news. He said that to him, the hardworking, paid staff and dedicated volunteers of the Board of Trustees had wasted their money.
Has he actually studied the facts and figures of the library’s staffing level and budget for the past five years? Staff has been lost due to city-imposed funding cuts and hiring freezes. Even worse, Skelly does not say to the public that the library has suffered a severe cut in its ability to buy materials (nonfiction books, magazines, audiovisual items) because it lost its state Central Library Development aid last year.
Why did the library lose its CLD money? Because the city government failed to pay its obligated percentage of the aid.
Voters should ask themselves why this happened. The library budget is less than 1% of the total city budget.
Why do people who claim to represent the voters continually attack a library that residents actually enjoy? The library is an institution whose patrons believe that staff members try to help them and that they matter.
How does eliminating the library and its services fulfill the city government’s stated goal of making life better in Ogdensburg? If you live in the Ogdensburg City School District, you have the chance to answer that question when you vote on May 18.