Library District Initiative 2020 Information

Establishment of a School District Public Library

If the proposition to establish a school district public library is approved, it will help guarantee that the Massena Public Library has stable and predictable funding in order to provide a variety of services to the community.

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 the Towns of 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.

More information on School District Public Libraries can be found on the New York State Library website here.

Comparison of Different Types of Libraries

Steps for Creating a School District Public Library

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.  Mail-in ballots must be received by the Massena Central School District Clerk by June 9th, 2020, at 5:00 P.M.

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

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.

Vote Specifics

Massena Central School District Budget Vote Information Postcard
What:  The following proposition will be voted on, as well as candidates for seven trustee positions. 

QuestionShall the Massena Public Library be permanently established as a school district library for the benefit and free use of all residents of the Massena Central School District, such library to have seven Library Board Trustees, whose members are elected by the voters of the School District for terms of up to three years, and be authorized to raise $695,283, separate and apart from the annual School District budget, to support and maintain such library, said appropriation shall be raised annually by a tax upon the taxable property of said School District and shall be an annual appropriation thereafter until changed by further vote of the majority of electors of the Massena Central School District, and shall be levied and collected yearly as are other general taxes? 

How:  Voting will be by mail-in absentee ballots only.  The Massena Central School District will mail ballots to eligible voters.  Any additional ballots must be requested from the school district by residents. The school district’s propositions will be on the same ballot as the library’s propositions.  The library proposition will be on Page 2 of the ballot. 

When:  Ballots must be mailed back and received by the school district by Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 5:00 P.M. 

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).

Anyone with questions 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

More information is contained in the presentation made by the Massena Public Library Board of Trustees to the Massena Town Council on February 26, 2020.

What does a School District Public Library mean for my taxes?

Current Massena Public Library - Municipal

  • Funded by Town of Massena property taxes;  Town Council will remove future library funding.
  • This will result in a decrease of taxes from taxpayers within the Town of Massena.
Assessment $Tax With Library $Tax Without Library $Town Tax Savings $

Proposed School District Public Library

  • Funded by Massena Central School District property taxes.
  • Appear as a separate line item on property owners's school tax bill.
  • Town of Massena taxpayers will see a net tax savings.
TownEqualized Tax RateAssessed Value $2020-2021 Library District Tax $2020 Town Library Tax $Tax Savings $























Massen Central School District's 2019-2020 Tax Rate Worksheet

North Country Library System Member Libraries Service Area Map


Massena Central School District Board of Education, Massena Central High School, Thursday, March 19, 2020, 7:00 P.M.

Massena Central School District Board of Education Update

Youtube Recording


Massena Town Council, Massena Town Hall, March 18, 2020, 5:30 P.M. Facebook Recording Youtube Recording

Massena Senior Citizens Club, Massena Community Center, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 1:00 P.M.

Massena Town Council, Massena Town Hall, February 26, 2020 5:30 P. M.

Community Conversation at Massena Public Library, February 13, 2020, 6:30 P. M.

Louisville Town Council Meeting, January 22, 2020, 6:00 P.M. Minutes

Brasher Town Council Meeting, January 9, 2020, 7:00 P. M. Minutes

Norfolk Town Council Meeting, December 11, 2019, 7:00 P. M.

Community Conversation at Massena Public Library, November 21, 2019, 7:00 P. M.

Community Conversation at Massena Public Library, November 20, 2019, 2:00 P. M.

Words in the Woods at the Nicandri Nature Center, June 22, 2019 10:00 A.M

Massena Public Library Board of Trustees Minutes

Rotary Club

St. Lawrence Chapter of New York State Women, Inc.


2020-06-03 WMSA Interview With Massena Public Library 5-22-20

2020-06-02 Opinion: Don’t let councilmen influence library vote, says Massena woman

2020-06-02 Opinion: Former educator disheartened by lack of Massena library support

2020-06-01 Notice of claim filed against Louisville over use of official mailing to residents

2020-06-01 Brasher, Louisville, Norfolk hire attorney for Massena Public Library proposition

2020-05-31 Opinion: Library provides indispensable service to community, Massena resident says | NorthCountryNow

2020-05-31 Opinion: Library offers plethora of activities for all, says Massena woman | NorthCountryNow

2020-05-28 Massena Central School District mailing about 9,000 absentee ballots for budget vote

2020-05-27 WMSA Interview with Massena Town Councilman Sam Carbone

2020-05-25 WMSA Interview With Massena Public Library

2020-05-22 WMSA Interview With Massena Public Library

2020-05-20 Eight candidates running for seven seats on Massena library board; library tax vote will be by mail

2020-05-18 WMSA MPL Press Release on Trustee Candidates

2020-05-17 Massena Central School officials discuss potential budget cuts during year

2020-05-15 Opinion Becoming School District Library Provides Stability, says Massena Resident

2020-05-08 WMSA Broadcast of Courier-Observer Article

2020-05-08 Massena Public Library proposition to be included on school budget ballot | Education |

2020-03-28 Massena town board supports library transitioning to receiving tax funding through school district | NorthCountryNow

2020-03-25 Massena Public Library receives board of education approval for June 16 referendum | Education |

2020-03-25 WMSA broadcast of Courier-Observer Article

2020-03-24 Massena school board to hold referendum June 16 discussing collecting taxes for public library | NorthCountryNow

2020-03-20 Massena Town Council throws support behind Massena Public Library transfer plan | Education |

2020-03-19 Massena Central School District Board Meeting on March 19th, 2020 - YouTube

2020-03-06 Massena Public Library to present new funding plan to school board March 19 | NorthCountryNow

2020-03-05 Massena Public Library officials meeting with Massena Central School Board on March 19 | Education |

2020-03-02 Vote on Massena Public Library’s future status scheduled for June 16 at library | Education |

2020-02-27 Massena residents would pay slightly less in library taxes under new proposal | NorthCountryNow

2020-02-11 Are libraries meeting the needs of residents? | Letters |

2020-02-01 Massena Public Library scheduled to make presentation on plans to convert to public school district library | Education |

2020-01-30 Taxpayers tell Massena Town Council confusion exists over proposed library tax, education needed | NorthCountryNow

2020-01-23 Massena Public Library director discusses transition to public school district library with Louisville residents | Books and Authors |

2020-01-21 Massena Public Library to discuss new tax structure proposition in Louisville on Wednesday | NorthCountryNow

2020-01-06 Town supervisors weigh in on Massena Public Library’s school district library plan | Education |

2019-11-28 Massena library wants to spread support among nearby towns

2019-11-23 Massena Public Library director discusses need to become school district public library | Education |

2019-11-22 Massena library seeks funding stream through school taxes | NorthCountryNow

2019-11-09 Meetings to be held on transitioning library | Letters |

2019-11-08 Massena Public Library holding information sessions to discuss school district public libraries | Books and Authors |

2019-07-22 Massena Public Library evaluating possibility of converting to school district public library

Trustee Candidates

John Bain

Bachelor degree environmental science from Plattsburgh state and a Masters degree in Engineering and Global Operations Management from Clarkson University.  Born and raised in Massena and has worked for Reynolds and Alcoa since 1991 as a Chemist and most recently as a Quantometer Operator for last six years.   

Susan Gray

Successful libraries are centers of knowledge and learning and provide services for all members of the community in a variety of formats (written, audio, electronic, group-based, class format, etc.).  The greatest challenge is maintaining a balance of quality programs and fiscal viability. There are no easy answers, but I am committed to contribute to the management of the library to (1) add value to our community and (2) make fiscal decisions that reflects the economic reality of our town. 

Marie Orosz Kirwan

My name is Marie Orosz Kirwan; some know me as “Dolly,” my childhood nickname. As the child of a Hungarian immigrant, I am passionate about education. Though we can be educated in many ways and places, the library serves as the educational nexus for this school district, open to all of us, regardless of age or income or background. I am most passionate about Yoga and the Library in my Massena life. As a retired English teacher, I started my second career teaching Kripalu Yoga and Chair Yoga because I feel that Yoga is a practice that helps us in Body, Mind and Spirit. The Library is similar in that respect, improving the quality of our daily lives and community experience. My degrees are in Education and Counseling. I’ve spent more than a few hours composing letters to newspapers and online to celebrate and defend the library. Though not a fan of politics, I’ve always aspired to be on the Library Board. Should I become a library trustee, I pledge to do my best to maintain the library at an affordable budget and to keep the surrounding communities aware of the library’s many resources and learning opportunities that so enrich this area.

Fred LaChance

I was born in Massena, and have lived here most of my life.  I'm retired from the New York Power Authority, starting as a laborer in 1981 and then moving to lineman. I left in 1995 to pursue an engineering degree, ultimately earning a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University. I returned to NYPA, first as a Transmission Engineer in the line crew, then finishing my career as a Construction Engineer. My first desire I can remember as a child was to be able to read. I spent considerable time at the Massena Public library as a kid, and spent a majority of my time at MCS, SUNY Canton, and Clarkson in their libraries.  When I was asked if I would serve if the board increases to seven members, I felt it would be a good way to reciprocate for the enrichment and enjoyment I have received over the last five plus decades.

Jeanna Matthews

I have lived in Massena for over 20 years. I have been a fan of the Massena library since my now adult children came to story hour as toddlers. I am a professor of Computer Science at Clarkson University. I am also an author, a photographer, and a dance instructor.

Linda McDonald

I have called Massena my home for over 50 years. During those years the Massena Public Library has played a great part in my life. Reading has always been one of my greatest pleasures. I think this has been instilled in my grown children from the time they were small – through the story hour visits and special reading programs offered at the library.  At the present time I am the Archivist at the Celine G. Philibert Memorial Cultural Centre & Museum.  I am a retired Dental Hygienist – graduating from Eastman School of Dental Hygiene in Rochester. I received a second Associate Degree from Cortland State Teacher's College as a Dental Hygiene teacher.  I am currently an Elections Official for the St. Lawrence County Board of Elections, Vice-President and Test Chair for the Massena Figure Skating Club, and am a member of the St. Lawrence County Health Advisory Board for the Head Start Program-Community Developmental Program Inc.

Patricia Farrell Ryan

Though not born here I am a longtime resident of Massena. After completing my BA and while working on my MS at SUNY Potsdam I continued my teaching career here in Massena. Through the years I worked with many Kindergarten and first grades students and their families at Washington, Twin Rivers, Madison and Jefferson Schools. My three adult children are graduates of Massena Central School. While teaching and raising my family I was involved in many community activities from volunteering for Hospice to a volunteer organist at St. Lawrence Church in Louisville. As a life-long reader & library patron I believe in the vital mission of libraries as centers for lifelong learning. Having served on Massena Public Library’s Board of Trustees since 2015 I have experience and commitment in this role and am prepared to serve my community in this capacity.

Joseph Savoca

I have been a Massena Public Library Trustee since January 2017.  Before that, I was a trustee for the Town of Massena Museum for three years.  I hope to continue to serve the public by making the library as strong a community institution as possible.  My family and I have always taken part in the many programs and services offered and have seen how well utilized the library is.