Library deserves support from officials

PETER R. BARBER/THE LEADER-HERALD The Broadalbin Library on Main Street in the village Friday, July 23, 2021.

About two to three weeks ago, The Leader-Herald published an article regarding the plight of the non-profit Broadalbin Library. While it was a reasonably balanced article, it did not fully address what I consider the core issues at this time.

Because the library will lose its building in December at the same time as we are attempting the lengthy process to become a public library, we were optimistic when the Town Board told us to contact the county about a recent tax foreclosed property on the Main Street of town. It appeared that they might be sympathetic to our situation.

As your article pointed out, the county administrator was not interested because of the potential loss of $38,000 in back taxes and the chance to make even more money on an auction sale of this property. From Broadalbin Town Board minutes in June, I later learned our town officials agreed with the county administrator and county chair just three weeks after encouraging me to approach the county administrator and treasurer. Had they included the library in the conversation, we would have offered the money we recently raised to help defray the cost to the town.

I don’t think one will find another town in this state or, indeed, in this country that would turn away from the chance to secure a library building for $38,000. While the county officials might have thought it was in the best interests of the county, Broadalbin town officials should have stepped up to the plate and considered the long term best interests of Broadalbin. Pay $38,000 now or call upon the taxpayers to pay 10 to 20 times that amount some time in the near future. I believe that the people of Broadalbin recognize the value of libraries and will regret losing this opportunity. Other than town and village offices, there is not one community oriented building in Broadalbin — no senior center, community center, true public library, historic society building, town bandstand or anything to serve the entertainment/educational needs of the whole population. As taxpayers, we have funded many sports fields and sports activities and nothing to serve the rest of the community.

While the county was so reluctant to lose control of this property, it appears it was not unwilling to allow Gloversville to purchase 14 properties recently. I applaud Gloversville officials for looking out for the long-term interests of their city. I wish Broadalbin leaders had done the same for our town. Libraries are one of the best investments one can make in a community. They provide adult education for a lifetime, programs for children, free access to Wi-Fi, electronic devices, newspapers, magazines and, of course, the latest books. In addition, libraries often host craft workshops, lectures, public meeting rooms, assistance with the census, distribution of official documents and more.

We have been accused of being unreasonable and demanding for seeking this assistance from the town. After 41 years of providing volunteer library service to the community, the volunteers at the library, current and past, do not deserve such acrimony from town officials.

Marianne Milton


(The writer is chairperson of the library board.)

By Paul Wager