The Board of Trustees of the Dundee Library are raising funds to cover the local costs for an expansion project that could break ground as early as this fall.

Board President Mia Clemens says the expansion will be a great investment for the rural community. “We need to meet more needs,” she says, explaining that the decision was made after much discussion with members of the community.

“The overall thought was we need more things for the kids to do,” she says, explaining since the Dundee Youth Center closed, youth need a place to go after school. “We have been losing resources for teens and younger kids, and parents are wanting it to be addressed,” she said. Pointing to recent concerns about the lack of mental health services for youth, she says the library can help with new opportunities.

The expansion will bring a new community room and an expansion to the children’s library area, and while that will mean improvements for small children and community groups like girl scouts and boy scouts, Clemens says the library board wants to see all kinds of people served better by the library.

The expansion, which will be paid for in part with a $200,000 state grant,  was the vision of the previous board leadership, explains Clemens, who says she is in complete support of the work.

With help from Southern Tier Library System, the library board has decided to build an addition on the back of the library that will house a community room with a kitchenette and restroom in the first phase of the project. This addition will permit the expansion of the children’s library area in phase two.

Clemens says a good portion of the local share has been raised with other grant funds and a generous donation from a community members. Donations can be sent to The Dundee Library Building Fund and either dropped off at the library or mailed to the library at 32 Water Street, Dundee, NY 14837.

While the decision has the support of the board of trustees, at least one volunteer who previously served on the board has announced she will no longer volunteer. And Segrid Dombroski, former library director, confirms she chose to resign because she doesn’t agree that the expansion is necessary. “They don’t need the space,” she said, also raising concerns about a possible impact on local school tax bills.

But Clemens says all the board members are residents in the community who share concerns about the impact on the local taxes.

In a letter to the editor that appears on page 4, Patricia Knapp lays out her reasons for opposing the plan.

Clemens says she understands change can sometimes be difficult, and adds, “The libraries have to evolve because the world is changing.”

The library has opened a search for a new director. For information about the opening, visit the Library’s facebook page.