Broadalbin library faces uncertain future

Shown is the Broadalbin Public Library after its sign was repaired and replaced. (Source: Broadalbin Public Library Facebook)

BROADALBIN — As the world slowly recovers from a worldwide pandemic, businesses and organizations have already closed their doors, while others have had to find resourceful ways to stay open.

The Broadalbin Library at 25 N. Main St. may be on the chopping block if the public does not support its future.

The library is currently a free library run by volunteers on a limited basis providing residents with books that are purchased through funds from the town and village of Broadalbin. It needs to grow to stay alive, Marianne Milton, president of the library board, said.

“We are a small library and we cannot provide what bigger libraries have,” Milton said.

Namely, if the free library does not evolve into a public library supported by school or municipal taxes and state aid, the library will go the way of the dodo bird to extinction with a check out date of Dec. 31.

By then, the library will have to vacate the building they have occupied since 1980; the building’s owners — the American Legion — has other plans for its use.

With an annual revenue of only $3,000, the library is small, but is taking a giant leap by asking to transform itself into a public library with services to include not only the borrowing of books, but providing computers, public meeting rooms, children’s programs, and hosting speakers.

The Amsterdam Free Library, the closest public library to the Broadalbin Library, provides most services to its residents paid for by school taxes, donations, fundraising, grants and state aid.

According to library Director Nicole Hemsley, the library was hit hard by the effects of COVID-19 with a reduction of state aid and a lessoning of public donations.

The Amsterdam Free Library is planning on a new $4.3 million addition with a three-storied community room providing anything the public could ask for – a business incubator with the latest technology for emerging business entrepreneurs, a fully-stocked kitchen, and a recording studio.

“This is a game changer in Amsterdam,” Hemsley said. “Some people may not be college ready and want to pursue their own business or trade. We are a beacon for others that cannot be found elsewhere.”

Milton said the Broadalbin Library Board is concentrating on getting donations and letting the public know about their plight through their website and Facebook pages.

“We take for granted the things we don’t have,” she said. “Some may think everything can be found online and its useless to fund a library. However, there are no other adult services providing educational alternatives in the Broadalbin community.”

“It would be a real loss if we do not have an educational institution besides a school,” Milton said. “We realize becoming a public library is the only way to go.”

To donate to the Broadalbin Library to keep its doors open, checks can be mailed to the Broadalbin Library P.O. Box 901, Broadalbin, NY 12025.

Concerned people can also donate online at broadalbinlibrary.org.

By Patricia Older