September 23, 1996
I cannot believe I now must include the wonderful
City Library on the list of endangered buildings in Oswego. This 1855 landmark,
on the National Register of Historic Places, is facing abandonment.
Proudly promoted in local Chamber of Commerce brochures for
its Romanesque and Gothic architecture, the building is/was the oldest continuously
operating library in use in New York State.
Oswego City Library was listed on the Preservation League of New York "Seven to Save" list in 2001. Facing shrinking budgets and trends towards one story libraries, the library board is looking into moving into an office building. What city fathers don't realize is that beautiful places promote good learning environments, and this building is certainly one that inspires an atmosphere of wonder. Try that in an office building. However, all is not said and done yet, and the group PRO Library is working very hard to save the Oswego City Library.
Thanks to PRO Library's efforts to raise awareness in the community, two PRO Library candidates were elected to the Oswego Public Library board in May of 2002. In addition, the community overwhelmingly supported (71%) an increase in the library tax to include a substantial amount of funds for building repairs. That election changed the minority who supported the old building to the majority (4-3). The board promptly turned down the Oswego City School District's offer for space in the 25+ year old Education Center (which has had two floods and now the elevator is out of service for 3-4 weeks). The focus is now on renovation and expansion of the present library building. Library Service Forums were conducted last fall with the general public, children, their parents and teens. The board went on the road to visit two successful library renovations in Cazenovia and Hamilton NY. The staff and other professional input was sought as well and the board has developed a comprehensive list of needs and desires for the renovated and expanded building. The board is presently in the process of interviewing experienced historic preservation architects to begin the renovation and addition plan. The full board is now supportive of the project. - Thanks to Mercedes Niess, H. Lee White Marine Museum
UPDATE JANUARY 2010:
The Oswego Library reopened to the public in October 2008.
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This page and all photographs copyright © 2002 by Robert J. Yasinsac. All rights reserved.