School Ballot 2020 Information

Strengthening the Massena Public Library

The Massena Public Library Board of Trustees urges you to support their decision to guarantee future library funding and services by supporting the library as it transitions from a Municipal Public Library to a School District Public Library.

What is a School District Public Library?

School District Public Libraries are autonomous legal entities, independent of the school district or town and are governed by elected library boards.

School District Public Libraries have service areas that coincide with the school district in which they are located. The Massena Central School District includes Massena, Louisville and portions of Brasher and Norfolk.

School District Public Libraries receive funds directly from school district taxpayers by asking them to vote on a resolution placed on the annual school district ballot. The library has the authority to schedule a vote on its budget each year. If the funding proposition passes, the school district collects the taxes and turns the funds over to the library board.

School district taxpayers pay an amount based on their assessed property value, just like they do for school taxes. Generally, the annual cost for supporting the library is low.

This funding option is becoming one of the most popular funding avenues in today's public libraries. Many of our North Country communities including Potsdam, Canton, Ogdensburg and Harrisville are partially or fully funded through a school district vote.

Will this result in an additional or new tax?

No. This will not result in a new tax or an additional tax for Massena residents. Residents in the outlying communities, that have benefitted from library services, will now be taxed. Library funding will be equitable as all communities will help support it.

The Massena Town Board has pledged to remove the tax funding that currently supports the library from the town taxes.

Massena residents should see a reduction in their town taxes and a reduction in the taxes they pay to support the library as outlying communities within the school district will be taxed to pay their fair share of the library budget.

I like how the library operates now, will the Library District change my library?

Our library currently provides excellent collections and services, and library patrons won’t see any appreciable difference in services and programming as a result of the formation of the district. Instead, with a stable revenue stream, services and programming will be preserved.

When will this happen?

The Library will remain a municipal library funded by the Town of Massena through 2020.

Eligible citizens will have the option to vote on transitioning to a School District Public Library at the annual school district ballot in June 2020

If the referendum passes, the Massena Public Library will be a School District Public Library in the fall of 2020.

When: June 2020

Time:  12:00 noon to 8:00 P.M., Prevailing Time

Where: Massena Community Center, 61 Beach St., Massena, NY  13662

What:  The first proposition will ask voters if they wish to create a school district library and fund it at a particular level.  The second proposition will ask voters to choose up to seven candidates for the office of Trustee.

Who:  A qualified voter of the Massena Central School District is one who is

  • (1) a citizen of the United States of America

  • (2) eighteen (18) years of age or older

  • (3) a resident within the School District for a period of thirty (30) days preceding the election and not otherwise prohibited from voting (i.e., mentally incompetent or convicted felon).

  • The School District may require all persons offering to vote at the special election to provide one form of proof of residency.  Such form may include a driver's license, a non-driver identification card, a utility bill, or a voter registration card. Upon offer of proof of residence, the School District may also require all persons offering to vote to provide their signature, printed name and address.

  • Applications for absentee ballots may be applied for at the office of the School District Clerk commencing 30 days prior to the vote.  Absentee ballots must be received by 5:00 P.M. on date of election in the office of the School District Clerk.

Anyone with questions or comments should contact Elaine Dunne, Director of the Massena Public Library.  She may be reached in person at the library at 41 Glenn St., Massena, by telephone at (315) 769-9914, or by email at

What happens if the referendum fails to pass?

We will continue to receive library funding from the Town of Massena. However, while we will continue to seek support from this and every other possible source, without a meaningful increase in revenue, the Library will have no choice but to reduce its hours of operation and further reduce its spending for books, other materials and programs. To cut staff would necessitate a cut in hours. Staff levels are already at the minimum needed to operate the library building safely.

What happens if the referendum passes?

The library will receive a more stable funding stream across the school district ensuring the
continuation of programs and resources that the residents desire.  The Massena Public Library Board of Trustees has determined that this is the best way to strengthen the library and serve the community in the long term.