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Morristown Public Library grapples with 4k in funding cuts

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MORRISTOWN — The Morristown Public Library has lost more than $4,000 in funding in 2013, forcing staff to divert funding away from anticipated projects to try to maintain current programing.

“We’re going to have to cut services,” Library Director Bridget C. Whalen-Nevin said.

At Tuesday’s meeting the Morristown Town Council passed its 2014 budget, which includes a decrease in funding for the library from $8,000 to $6,000.

That decrease comes after St. Lawrence County pulled all of its library funding out of the county budget in 2013, meaning that the $2,300 county contribution the library had relied on dried up completely.

With a 2013 operating budget of $40,000, Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said, the library is suffering “substantial” revenue cuts.

Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said the cuts will curtail projects to upgrade the library’s electrical system, add addition space to the one-room building, install a long-distance phone line so patrons can send faxes outside of the immediate area and increase programing.

The library has more than 800 active patrons, Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said. People visit from Morristown, Brier Hill, parts of Hammond and the outskirts of Ogdensburg, she said, noting that because the library is part of the North Country Library System they play a role in circulating reading material throughout the county.

“This is not a sleepy little library,” she said.

The library has worked to secure funding from other sources.

The Plein Air Festival, held in August, saw more than 20 artists visit Morristown and auction off paintings of the region to help raise money for the library.

Mrs. Whalen-Nevin said that event, which only came about thanks to hundreds of volunteer hours from members of the community, took in roughly $8,000 for the library.

But with the recent cuts that money will be invested largely in maintaining the status quo instead of expanding the capabilities of the library, she said.

The library board of trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the library, 200 Main St., to discuss next year’s budget.

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