Ogdensburg Public Library receives Excellence in Library Advocacy Award

Front row from left – Jim Reagan, Matt Corey (NCLS Consultant), Penny Kerfien, Sophie Nugent, Ava Nugent
Middle row from left – Jana Norris, Cheryl Ladouceur, Janice Sickler, Lin Griffin
Back row from left – Thomas Robarge, Ed Lavarnway, Tom Lawrence, Barbara McDonough, Ann Lesperance, Karen Wright, Dorian Lenney-Wallace

“This next award goes to a library that NCLS would like to recognize for their exemplary advocacy efforts. Their road has been long and difficult, including a history of challenges to their funding. As every library staff and trustee here knows, it’s hard operating the library on a tight budget. Additionally, there are often struggles simply securing the funding for that budget. 

When faced with these challenges, advocacy can be a crucial component for success. After a history of municipal funding cuts and more looming that could have closed their doors, this library embarked on a remarkable, robust advocacy campaign to secure sustainable funding on the school ballot.

  • A sub-committee of the board was set up to help manage the campaign and strategy 
  • They coordinated with their Friends group who was active communicating with the community about the issues and referendum 
  • Library supporters sent letters to the editor in local newspapers, highlighting the value of the library and how crucial it was they pass their referendum 
  • The Library Director constantly communicated with the media, gracefully addressing both difficult questions and comments 
  • Library supporters have shown up to city council meetings 
  • The New York State Library Association’s Executive Director submitted an OpEd to North Country Now 
  • And quite literally much, much more. 

    As a result of their efforts, their school district vote saw record voter turnout with voters overwhelmingly choosing to support the library. They secured $225,000 in additional funding, which brought their total to $350,000 and ensured the library would keep its doors open. This voter approval is more than dollars, it’s recognition that the community supports their library and has faith in its staff and trustees. 

    The road ahead is still long, but I am personally incredibly proud of the efforts of the trustees, staff, Friends, and specifically Director Penny Kerfien.  

    For exemplary advocacy efforts that have communicated the value of the library and secured vital sustainable funding for future success, I would like to give the Excellence in Library Advocacy award to the Ogdensburg Public Library.”

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