CFL Library Director Jen Graney and NYS Senator Lea Webb standing on either side of a poster of Senator's Webb's District 52, which includes Cortland, Tompkins, and parts of Broome County.
CFL Library Director Jen Graney and NYS Senator Lea Webb with a depiction of District 52. Photo by Senator Webb’s office.

Cortland Free Library has been awarded $601,750 in NYS Library Construction Aid to fund the following projects:

  • Elevator Expansion/Reconfiguration: The elevator will be reconfigured to a three-opening unit with additional stops at the Art Gallery and Northwest Mezzanine, making these areas accessible for the first time to people in wheelchairs and others.

 

  • Main Reading Room HVAC System: This means air conditioning in the Main Reading Room! Those of you who have been here in the summer know that it sometimes hits 90 degrees in the stacks. With an eye towards energy efficiency, this new system will also help provide comfort and safety to staff, patrons, and our library materials.

 

  • New Spaces in the Main Reading Room: More exciting changes in the Main Reading Room include a build-out of the existing circulation desk and relocation to the center of the room; a dedicated Teen Space; a dedicated Community Room; a staff office partition; and a Makerspace to be added to the Northwest mezzanine!

 

  • Parapet Section Replacement: Southwest sections of the parapet are crumbling and allowing water seepage into the building; this replacement will help prevent future damage.

 

  • Permanent Exterior Sign: Highly visible, colorful permanent sign to be installed at the Northeast corner of the building.

Our thanks to Assemblymember Anna Kelles and Senator Lea Webb who announced the news of CFL and many other libraries in our region receiving this funding.

CFL will be responsible for matching up to 25% of the award. We’ve already begun planning for the project’s start, together with our Buildings & Grounds Committee (chaired by Myron Walter) and our architect Jon Carnes (Crawford & Stearns). We will also be working closely with the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure the work is aligned with the requirements and needs of our state-registered historic building. We expect this to be a multi-year project. Stay tuned as work gets underway!

These funds are from $34 million in capital funds for public library construction and broadband infrastructure projects provided in the FY2022-2023 State Budget. To view other projects that were funded and to learn more about the urgent need New York’s public libraries have for renovations and upgrades, visit https://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/info/plcovrvw.htm

Bonnie Haines grew up in Homer and is a 35-year resident of Virgil, a vital part of the library’s service area. At present, she serves as a human resources consultant and auditor for Greek Peak Mountain Resort, where she previously held the positions of Human Resources Director, as well as the post of General Manager at the resort’s Hope Lake Lodge. Prior to that, Haines was a personal banker at KeyBank and a Human Resources Specialist, District Manager, and Store Manager for Tops Friendly Markets/Wilson Farms. She has also served as District Secretary to the Virgil Fire District Commissioners since 2009.

“We are so excited to welcome Bonnie to our team of Trustees, where her experience with human resources, organizational structure, and other aspects of managing complex, service- and people-oriented operations will prove valuable,” said Cortland Free Library Board President, Lauren Mossotti-Kline. “As a new member of our Personnel and Nominating Committees, Bonnie will contribute to discussion related to performance evaluations, Trustee recruitment and onboarding, compensation structures, employee recruitment, retention, and more. As a Trustee, she’ll also join the rest of our board in broader responsibilities that include fiduciary oversight, long-term planning, and advocating for the library in the community.”

Haines also expressed enthusiasm for joining the Board and the notion of supporting the Cortland Free Library as an institution and community resource.

“There is an amazing number of resources and programs available through the library, geared towards all types of people and all types of needs,” she said. “It is also staffed with kind, caring and passionate employees and volunteers that are there to serve and assist the community they serve. I also really appreciate library’s comfortable environment, architecture, and rich history.”

Outside of her professional endeavors, Haines enjoys family and activities stemming from the 50- acre property she and her husband, Carl, own in Virgil, which includes an apple orchard, numerous blueberry bushes, and grape vines.

On Tuesday, May 16, the library’s budget will be on the same ballot as the Cortland City School District for your vote. For the first time, we are asking for more than a 2% increase. We want you to understand what that means, so to learn more about our budget, expenses, history of our funding structure, reasons behind the increase, and exciting projects on the horizon, please visit https://cortlandfreelibrary.org/funding-value/

We’re excited to announce that Glenn Reisweber has joined Cortland Free Library’s Board of Trustees.

A resident of Cortland since 2003, Reisweber served as the Professor of Military Science at Cornell University. Upon his retirement from the United States Army and the Cornell post, he assumed the role of Executive Director of the Lime Hollow Nature Center, a position he held for 15 years and where his achievements included overseeing construction of that organization’s visitor center (2007); establishment of an environmental education center (2015); considerable expansion of the center’s summer camp program; and opening of the Lime Hollow Forest Preschool, which is the first forest preschool in the State of New York to be certified by the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) as a day-care provider.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Glenn to our team, where we know his experience running and growing a local and beloved non-profit will add value and insight to the library,” said Cortland Free Library Board President, Lauren Mossotti-Kline. “Glenn’s knowledge of operations, diverse programming, and infrastructure, as well as his deep expertise with running a thriving youth-camp are all significant assets to us and to the community we serve.”

Reisweber echoed Mossotti-Kline’s comments, adding: “After spending most of my time in Cortland helping people of all ages physically experience and enjoy the great outdoors, I’m looking forward to helping my fellow Trustees and library staff enrich our community by broadening and nourishing our minds through all our local library has to offer.”

In addition to serving on the Cortland Free Library Board, Reisweber works with the OCM BOCES New Vision Environmental Science Program as a substitute teacher, now volunteers at the Lime Hollow Nature Center, and is active in the Cortland Breakfast Rotary Club. He enjoys spending time outdoors year-round with his growing family and takes pride in reading Owl Moon by Jane Yolen with his grandchildren before they go owling each year.

Originally from Buffalo, Reisweber holds a Bachelor of Science from West Point in International Affairs, and a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Summer reading programs began in the 1890s, the American Library Association tells us, as a way to encourage school children, particularly those in urban areas and not needed for farm work, to read during their summer vacation, use the library and develop the habit of reading.

Over the years it continued as a way to help stop the “summer slide” and to keep kids engaged throughout the summer. This year’s theme is Oceans of Possibilities, and rather than being just for kids, it’s open to all ages. We are in Week 4 of this year’s program and thought we’d share a few of our own Summer Reading stories.

Tammy Sickmon, Youth Services LibrarianMiss Tammy, Youth Services Librarian: Summer reading is when we get to shine and get families into the library to show them how fun it is here. Sometimes this is the only time I get to see some families and kids, whether because parents work or because the kids are in the many camp groups that come to the library during the summer. While it is a crazy time of the year, it is worth all the work to see how happy it makes the kids. I especially love that it gives us an excuse 😉 to get dressed up in silly outfits and go all out decorating the youth services room.

I joined Cortland Free Library right at the beginning of the 2015 Summer Reading Program “Every Hero Has a Story.”  I remember the fun of dressing up as a super librarian and all the giggles it brought to kids and adults.  One of my favorite memories from that summer was a toddler that also dressed up as a superhero.

 

Tim, Circulation Desk Assistant: My summer reading anecdote/suggestion is that I like to pick books to take on vacation with me that are equal parts fiction/equal parts non-fiction. I tend to read the former in the evening to “decompress” from the daily excursions, and I save the latter for earlier in the day/vacation/etc. I like to challenge myself with truth, yet I still have time to “escape” in fiction.

 

 

Jen, Library Director: The first actual library Summer Reading program I remember was in my hometown library in Rush, NY where I volunteered in what must have been the early 90s, listening to kids give summaries of the books they’d read so they could get their prizes. Since then, the best part of summer reading for me has always been taking a stack of books and a notebook outside and reading outdoors. Being beneath a tree, on grass, near water, etc., enhances the entire experience for me, including reflection on the reading. And here at the library, the energy and excitement in Youth Services is through the roof in summer, thanks in large part to Miss Tammy who exudes enthusiasm!

 

Kristen, Circulation Desk Assistant: This is my first summer participating in the Summer Reading Program as a staff member here at the Cortland Free Library! I am so excited to be a part of all of the amazing things that we do here. I have loved getting to know all of the fantastic readers that we have here in Cortland. Whether it’s those that come to the circulation desk with a tall pile of books or our young readers that are ecstatic because they have just won a free book, all of the excitement to read here makes me smile.

My favorite thing to do in the summer when I was younger was to read whatever I wanted. There were no teachers telling me that I had to read this or I had to read that; everything I read was for pure enjoyment. I would start each summer with a list of what I wanted to get through and I would spend all of my free time reading. Whether I was out in the sunshine or inside where I could keep cool, my nose was always in a book. As I got older, my summers have become full other things and people that need my time. Summer reading isn’t as it used to be. My mother told me that at some point, it will be my turn to enjoy my summers and my reading like I used to. I’m looking forward to days full of sunshine, iced tea, and books… lots and lots of books.

Do you have a Summer Reading story to share? Tell us in the comments!

Get excited: it’s the new Cortland Free Library website! It’s also more than that. It’s a hub for library happenings; a place to view local newspapers from the 1800s forward; a place to track down the book your favorite podcast just mentioned; a place to connect with your community; a place to research your family’s history; a place to hear stories (Dial-a-Story!); a place to play games; a place to get involved; truly, a place of discovery and wonder.

It wouldn’t be a good virtual branch if we didn’t also tell you about all that the physical space has to offer (for instance, say you need to fax something. Who faxes anymore? We do!) and more about those of us who keep things running behind-the-scenes: your library staff, volunteers, and board of trustees.

We hope you can find what you need here, but if you can’t: what’s missing? What else would you like to see? Let us know! And more generally, but I think also more importantly—what are your goals this year? What are your new year’s resolutions? Please let us know those too. When we know what our community is aiming for, it helps us develop our collections—physical and digital—to help you succeed.

Here’s to a year of growth, connectedness, and gratitude. Thank you for reading!

Jen Graney

Library Director