Library seeks not-for-profit status

The front entrance of the Johnstown Public Library, as seen Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

The front entrance of the Johnstown Public Library, as seen Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Public Library is looking to create a not-for-profit charitable corporation, which the director said is separate from the facility’s attempts to become a school district public library.

“It’s actually something we’re working on right now,” library Director Erica Wing said Wednesday.

Wing acknowledged her facility is trying to form what would become the “Johnstown Public Library Foundation, Inc.” She said members of the library’s Board of Trustees have discussed a possible foundation for people to donate to for some time.

She said the reason for the private corporation would be “to support the library.” She said the Gloversville Public Library already has a similar foundation, and such corporations are common.

“It’s just another service for people who support us,” Wing said.

She said formation is separate from current efforts to form a school district public library. Trustees voted in September to seek that status.

Officials from the library and the city in 2016 first discussed whether the facility could become a school district library funded by people residing within the Greater Johnstown School District boundary. The move could be beneficial financially to all entities involved, officials have said. City taxpayers currently are providing funding to the library budget.

Greater Johnstown School District voters will decide May 15 whether to approve changing the facility on South Marker Street to a school district public library. Pending approval of May’s proposition, the Johnstown Public Library would apply for a new library charter, dissolve, and transfer assets of the old library. Once that process is completed, the library would be funded by a separate designation on a future school tax bill.

A document was filed Dec. 28 in the Fulton County Clerk’s Office indicating the library is seeking to form a “charitable corporation.” The document was signed Nov. 13 by Susan P. Johnson of 7 Jane Drive, who would be one of the first directors of the new corporation. Other initial directors would be Shelly Yerdon of 1 W. Third Ave., and J. Christopher Foss of 111 Prindle Ave.

Efforts to become incorporated as the Johnstown Public Library Foundation, Inc. are being directed to the state Department of State.

The secretary of state was designated as an official “agent” of the corporation.

Wing said the library recently received draft copies of bylaws for the new corporation.

The document filed by Johnson notes the Johnstown Public Library Foundation, Inc. would be created under Section 402 of New York’s Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. The filing says it would exist to “promote and generally support the programs and facilities of the Johnstown Public Library.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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