Patrons can help stock library shelves

CANAJOHARIE – Canajoharie Library officials are asking for help stocking the shelves after budget cuts have severely reduced the number of new books the library can buy.

Library Director Leah LaFera said because of recent budget cuts, the library can afford to buy only $6,000 in books this year.

To try to keep the library’s stock up to date, LaFera created an Amazon wish list where people can see descriptions of the books needed and then purchase and donate them to the library.

The library is promoting its efforts on Facebook and offers a link to the Amazon wish list on the library website,

According to the library’s Facebook page, 15 books had been purchased by Friday.

In June, voters turned down a proposal that would have allowed the library to collect a tax levy.

If it had passed, the library could have had an extra $100,000 in funding.

By a nearly 2-1 ratio, voters in the Canajoharie Central School District defeated the proposition. The library levy would have added about $26 to a property owner’s tax bill, library officials said in June.

“The vote was really a chance for us to tell the community, ‘Hey, here is what we were doing, now we can’t keep up,'” LaFera said this week.

“Up until last year, our budget for books was $21,000,” LaFera said.

With less than one-third of that now, the library can introduce only 20 books a month.

“It wasn’t necessarily one sort of catastrophic thing that caused us to cut from the budget,” LaFera said.

LaFera said the library primarily is funded through grants, donations and an endowment.

However, endowment money, from which the library draws interest, is running low, LaFera said.

LaFera said the library doesn’t want to draw down the endowment’s principal because that would decrease the interest the library receives from it, hurting the library more in the long term.

“The Canajoharie Library relies each year on grants, sponsorships, gifts and our endowment to survive,” according to a notice on the library’s website. “We receive the smallest amount of taxpayer funding in the entire Mohawk Valley library system. We are also one of the least publicly funded libraries in the entire state.”

The website says while the Canajoharie Library receives only about $700 a year from its local municipal governments, Fonda’s Frothingham Free Library gets $26,000 a year and Fort Plain’s library gets $56,850 per year from their localities.

LaFera said she is optimistic the library will meet its goal of stocking the shelves with the help of patrons.

Arthur Cleveland is the Montgomery County Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

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