Beloved library gets gift to keep doors open, thanks to Town Supervisor

(WHAM photo)

In Brockport, a beloved library received a much needed gift. The Clarkson Town Supervisor donated his entire salary to keep Seymour Library open longer.

Seymour Library is run by local government, and is one of few libraries that serves three municipalities.

When Clarkson Town Supervisor Jerry Underwood heard the library cut hours due to deficit spending, he promised that if elected, he would pledge this years’ salary to help out.

Underwood made good on his promise to keep the library open longer.

“It's a community center in Clarkson, and really the only community center that we have for all the people,” said Underwood.

Last year, a $60,000 deficit forced the director to cut two hours a day from normal hours.

“We were spending more than we were taking and we were dipping into our endowment quite heavily,” said library director Carl Gouvela.

The cuts were felt by all, with the library serving upwards of 350 folks a day from the Village of Brockport, the Town of Clarkson, and Town of Sweden.

“It upset me,” said Underwood. “In the Town of Clarkson, we're a bedroom community. We don't have a lot of facilities for the towns people the library is the nicest facility we have. I have a lot of fond memories, childhood memories going with my grandma and my mother, continued with my grandkids going all the time.”

Underwood wrote an $18,000 check in January, restoring those hours. Now parents like Hayley Baker can once again bring their kids to their favorite place. “My oldest struggles a lot with sensory so going places, he can feel overwhelmed, and here he knows he can go right to the room that he can play in and it's more comforting and it's not as loud.”

Underwood and Gouvela hope to turn Seymour into a library district to keep the doors open.

“Our hope is there's some way to move forward with the library district. It's the only way forward to the sustainability of this library. There aren't many libraries that serve multiple municipalities as we do,” said Gouvela.

Gouvela says the money will last about one year, and come 2019, they may have to cut hours again.

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