Library gets help to turn page on cuts

GoFundMe campaign raising funds from supporters of popular Camden Public Library

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CAMDEN — The Camden Public Library was there for her — and now Jessica Travers says, it is her turn to help the library she and her children love. The Taberg mother said she couldn’t overstate how much the library has meant to her and her family.

“My family and I have benefited from the library, saving thousands of dollars borrowing books and DVDs,” Travers said, “and I’m a homeschooling mom, so you definitely need the library.”

When the Camden library announced it would be forced to reduce its hours of operation because of budget cuts, Travers sprung into action hoping that she and other like-minded fans of the library could help raise funds to lessen the impact of the cuts.

“Jessica felt very strongly and set up a GoFundMe completely on her own,” Camden Library Director Linda Frenzel said.

Due to COVID-19 and expected cuts in state aid from New York, municipalities across the state have had to crunch numbers and tighten their belts. For the Camden village board, Frenzel said, this included eliminating $20,000 from the budget usually allocated to the library.

“We were told in the late fall after the Town Board meeting that we would not be receiving that $20,000 that we’ve always received,” Frenzel said. “We had to start cutting hours on Jan. 1. This is a consequence of COVID. The Board just didn’t have the money to contribute to the programs they’d like to — but they’ve been wonderful supporters in the past.”

As a result of the shortfall, the library had to cut its Thursday hours and is now closed on Saturday afternoons. Frenzel said the cuts have also led to a reduction in hours — and income — for three library staffers.

Upon learning of the library’s predicament as she swung by and pick up a book, Travers set up a GoFundMe and asked the public to help donate with the goal of raising a total of $25,000 to help the library. And since then, the support has been strong and steady — with one family donating $1,000 and a total of $13,875 raised from 178 people.

“There’s a lot of talk of division in the news and politics, but when it comes down to it, people are connected,” Travers said. “Everyone can support their public library.”

People have also mailed in donations to the Camden Library, and Travers is hopeful that they will reach their goal.

Anyone wishing to donate can go online to https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/camden-new-york-library or mail a check to the Camden Library Association, 57 Second St., Camden NY 13316. For information, call 315-245-1980.

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