The Northern Onondaga Public Library District (NOPL) was formed through a grass roots effort by community members who recognized that their growing communities needed better library service than could be offered by their three village libraries. Their dream was to establish a well-supported library with well-equipped facilities and staff to serve the needs of their growing community.
These library leaders overcame the historical barriers of local rivalries and competition to work together to enable the issue to come to the local voters for their approval. Through consolidation, the libraries in Brewerton, Cicero, and North Syracuse went from being among the smallest to one of the 50 largest libraries in the state with a service population of 51,000. The library began operations on January 1, 1996.
In their campaign for the establishment of the library district the NOPL leaders listened to the community's message: the people wanted better libraries, but they also loved having their own local library. NOPL began with the former three village libraries, these were physically limited buildings—the largest was 2,500 square feet, the smallest barely 1,500 square feet—probably smaller than your house. One library had ceilings barely seven-feet high. By the Fall of 1997, less than two years from its inception, the new library's board went out to the voters with a 4.25 million dollar building program.
Their plan was to build three new buildings to replace the village libraries: a plan for 25,000 square feet of new construction. The plan was approved and in August of 1998 ground was broken. Construction of the three new buildings was simultaneously carried out over that Winter into the Spring of 1999. On July 10, 1999 grand opening ceremonies for three new state of the art libraries were held.
Circulation at the three NOPL libraries has increased dramatically with the new buildings by 40% and more. The increase in circulation has been accompanied by increases in library users, reference services, and program attendees.
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