Saturday, April 28, 2012


Pulling at Your Heart-Strings – Use Your Head

You may have received your mailer today from the “Friends” of the Middleport Library.  Funny how we never heard anything from the Library or it’s “Friends” last year when they secretly had that election in June to get into our pockets.  It appears now the people in charge of that private corporation library have proven to us what is truly in their hearts.  Instead of putting their money into an Educational Campaign, which NYS Education Library Development instructs, they immediately ran to their lawyers to try to get a “stay” and yet again, attempt to disenfranchise you and me from our vote.  So, I’m not surprised, just disappointed.

My very first experience with this library was when I walked in and spoke to the Director of the Library after I received my bill in September.  I explained to her, if the library had simply ran the educational campaign they were supposed to run, got the word out to the ENTIRE community about the vote…and the vote passed, then I wouldn’t even be there to inquire what the heck happened back in June 2011.  At that point, she agreed with me, stating, “you’re right, we didn’t do it right”. 

And now, less than a year later…here we are again.  They have hired their lawyers to try to get a “stay” on the proposition.  To keep you and me from our votes once again. 

The Library claims they did everything “legally” for last year’s vote.  We have yet to actually hear from anyone how they figure that.  The School District Policy 1630 calls for voting machines to be used, the only exception is for an emergency.  And IF paper ballots are used, then a voter log must also be used.  The vote in June was by paper ballot, at the library. voter log…no machine.  District Policy 1650 specifies that anyone submitting a proposition for a ballot must submit it with a petition signed by 25 district voters or 5% the number who voted in the last annual election (whichever  is greater).  The Library submitted NO petition signatures. 

When the community approached the Library Board at their meeting in September, we were told, there would be no debate, no question and answer, you may have 10 minutes to speak.  They used a watch to time us, and would not answer any questions, but simply sat there smiling at us.  This is what we can expect from the people who have not even ASKED your permission to take your hard earned money, but instead held a secret vote to take it from you.

We would be better served by people who understood that our Republic is only as strong as it is because of the laws we have in place; and that those laws are there for a reason, it’s the spirit of the law that should be followed….not simply the “letter”. 

A few people in the community, probably egged on by the “friends”, wrote heart-felt letters to the editor exclaiming their pride and joy at being able to use all the “free” resources of the library.  Someone needs to explain to these people that just because THEY didn’t pay for it does not make it FREE.  Someone paid, and continues to pay, someone like me and you.           

As for the Library closing if they don’t get the money, I don’t believe it.  The Library, which is chartered for the Village of Middleport, could use a municipal vote (Chapter 414) to obtain funding from the chartered area.  The threat of closing is nothing more than that, a threat.

We are not anti-library.  On the contrary, I use my library card all the time….through electronic book downloads.  The only time I was in the library was to obtain the card.  That was a nice sunny, chilly Saturday afternoon.  I would like to say I was surprised to find the library empty…but I wasn’t.   As has been discussed previously, all the local libraries are underutilized.

So we have to wonder why we are asked to pay for more library buildings, and the employees they require to run them.  It might interest you to learn that there is a bill in the NY Senate to give NY State retirement benefits to Association Library workers.  The Middleport Library is an Association Library, which means it is a private corporation.  This bill would provide tax-payer funded retirement benefits to employees of a private corporation.  Although I have been assured by various State officials that the bill is still in committee….it won’t go anywhere, etc…I know that bills can become law quickly, without much fanfare, much like the library vote last year.  So you can understand how I could barely believe my eyes as I read the bill (A574-2011). 

When the NY Tolls went in, they claimed that it was only until the road was paid for. The first section of the Thruway opened in 1954, and we are still paying…but not the original 10 cents or whatever it was, the tolls have increased to pay for personnel and materials, to what they are now and with no end in sight.

With the Middleport Library attempting to become a “district” library, do you really think they can maintain that title with the tiny little building they currently reside in, on a side street with no parking?   They are positioning themselves to become a district library and obtain “sustainable funding” by taking it out of the pocket of the taxpayer.  They will then claim the need to “grow their building and their personnel to accommodate the District”. 

The school district taxpayers are already more than accommodated by all the other libraries in the area, thanks anyway.  If you have ever been frustrated over the fact that you have no control over your taxes, you should know that you now have control.  To use it, vote YES to REPEAL the Library tax, not because you don’t care about libraries, but because there are five more within 12 miles; and enough is enough.

P.S.  Anyone with a computer and internet connection can find this information regarding the Thruway and the pending legislation (A574-2011) without ever stepping foot in the library.

- Mary Cedeno, 

Lockport NY