Imagine Your Community Without Liberty

Imagine your community without a library! The Mary E. Seymour Memorial Library (Stockton), Cassadaga Branch Library (Cassadaga), and Sinclairville Free Library (Sinclairville) struggle each year to provide free materials, technology access, and programs to community residents. Their Boards of Directors have been masters at securing funds to keep library doors open. But rising costs, flat funding, and increased competition for grants may just be too challenging for these rural libraries.

Imagine no free access to the Internet! The libraries offer access to the Internet at no cost both within and outside their buildings. And library staff provide training in technology for needy patrons.

Imagine no storytimes for area preschoolers and primary students! These libraries offer in-person and digital storytimes for area youth that reinforce early literacy skills and other skills important to student life.

Imagine no space for community groups and others to meet! These libraries currently serve as quasi-community centers for area groups and residents. And the buildings offer warm, safe places for folks.

Imagine the loss of historical artifacts! These libraries house unique artifacts that tell the history of the area. Without these collections, the story of parts of Chautauqua County will vanish.

On May 21, the residents of the Cassadaga Valley Central School District (CVCSD) will decide the fate of these three libraries. The libraries are utilizing New York State Education Law 259, which allows them to propose funding on school district ballots as a separate proposition. Yes, the residents will decide if property owners will be assessed a library tax to support the three libraries. Yes, CVCSD residents can guarantee that funds will be provided annually to sustain these libraries. Yes, these libraries have a chance for continued operations beyond 2024!

Vote Yes on the proposal for $130,000 to be raised from taxes levied on property owners — $62,000 combined for the Mary E. Seymour Memorial Library and Cassadaga Branch Library, and $68,000 for the Sinclairville Free Library. For more information, consult the library websites: www.stocktonlibraries.org and www.sinclairvillelibrary.org. Accessing the Vote Info tab on the libraries’ websites, a property owner can calculate how much his/her/their property will be assessed.

For example, a Town of Stockton property owner with a property assessment of $100,000 will contribute $28.29 annually, less than the cost of one hardcover book or a McDonalds meal for two adults/teens- a small price to pay for your library. These libraries can only survive beyond 2024 with CVCSD residents’ support!

Barbara Mallette is a member of the Seymour Library Board of Directors in Stockton.


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