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Dannemora community building comes to life

Dick Lynch, head librarian at the Northern New York American-Canadian Geneological Society in the Dannemora village offices building, said the abundance of offices there is great for word-of-mouth promotion.

Dick Lynch, head librarian at the Northern New York American-Canadian Geneological Society in the Dannemora village offices building, said the abundance of offices there is great for word-of-mouth promotion. Photo by John Grybos.

— With the chatter of preschoolers, the aerobic thumping of a senior citizen exercise class and squeaky sneakers in the hardwood-floored gym, the village offices on Emmons Street have gone from a dusty, closed school full of surplus equipment to a colorful community center.

“It’s amazing the number of people that come through here,” said Village Mayor Michael Bennett.

Village offices like the clerk, mayor and court are housed in the former Dannemora Elementary building, but other offerings keep traffic flowing in the sunny hallway.

The library occupies two rooms there, with the nursery school kitty-corner down the hall.

“It’s a one-stop shop,” said Carrie Coty from Cadyville. She was setting up some toys in the gym for a play session after the preschool ended. Her kid’s enrolled in the program.

Sometimes she’ll use the gym to stretch her legs out of the cold weather, she said, and she often visits the library down the hall.

Next door to the preschool, Village Historian Pete Light’s put together a museum on Dannemora’s history.

“The building’s totally alive,” said Light.

The Northern New York American-Canadian Geneological Society library moved in at the end of the hall after the Keeseville civic center closed.

“Most everybody passes by, so a lot of people see our office,” said Dick Lynch, head librarian for the Genealogical Society.

Most of the occupants are there free, though the nursery school and Genealogical Society each pay rent for their offices. Part of the Society’s lease includes free access for village residents.

Library Director Laura Pritchard said being near all those offices and services helps spread the word about the library.

Kids from the nursery school read there sometimes, and they’ll show it to their parents or grandparents. When Youth Commission basketball games are on, bored siblings will wander down the hall and enjoy a book.

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