Five Year Strategic Plan


The Lamont Memorial Free Library wishes to provide
the community with a relaxing, warm atmosphere
that encourages quiet times with good literature,
educational opportunities with various reference materials,
and cultural events presented by community
members and organizations.

The Library Board has developed a plan to support this Mission Statement including the following specific areas:

  • General Operation
  • Short Term Physical Needs
  • Finance

This plan is based on an effort to analyze current needs, future development and financial resources so that the ultimate in library services may be reached.

Sound planning equals effective library programs, activities and efficient service.

In each of the areas the following typical format will include:

Strategic Goals:  Broad statements of where the organization wants to be in the future.

Tactical Goals:  Objectives that define the expectations and outcomes that the major subgroups listed in the plan must achieve in order for the Library to meet its mission statement.

Operational Goals:  Specific and measurable actions and results expected from groups and individuals associated with the Library.

The Library Board Members and the Director of the Lamont Memorial Free Library are committed to the success of the library and see the long range plan as our means to that end.

Board of Trustees:   Teresa Ripley, Christine Buerkle, Colleen Rynders, Melanie Field, Maryalice Griffin, Rosann Morey

Director: Heather Cobb


The Lamont Memorial Free Library was established at 5 Main Street, McGraw, New York in1906.  It has been located from its founding in the boyhood home of Daniel S. Lamont, a local resident who became private secretary to Governor Grover Cleveland from 1885 to 1889 and then President Cleveland’s Secretary of War from 1893 to 1897.

The rear portion of the structure is believed to have been one of the first eleven residences in the Village of McGraw, being in place by 1813.  At some time prior to 1851, the Greek Revival or “Greek Temple” portion was added to the front of the building.  These architectural design elements continue to be popular features in the village.

The Lamont family arrived in McGraw in 1851, the year Daniel S. Lamont was born.  A New York State Historical Marker (1950), located in front of the Lamont Memorial Free Library property, notes Daniel Lamont’s political appointments.

It was Daniel Lamont’s wife Julia who, according to village history, made the first interior changes of the residence to transform it into a more practical, library-like facility.  Wall partitions were removed and a fireplace was closed.  The two front rooms housed the library, with the rear of the building continuing as a residence until 1926.  In that year a partition between the two living rooms was removed to create a children’s room for the library.

Initially, Mrs. Lamont paid all the expenses of the library, including the purchase of the first one thousand books.  After Mrs. Lamont’s death, her daughter, Elizabeth, continued to pay the library expenses, with the exception of book purchases.  The local government and various civic organizations, as well as individual citizens, assumed that responsibility.

In 1945, Elizabeth Lamont deeded the library property to the Village of McGraw as a Free Public Library. She continued to make monetary contributions to the library until her death and at that time left an endowment of about $50,000.  Only subtle changes in the architecture took place over the next fifty-three years.  The most notable was the addition of a porch on the east side of the building and in 1990/91 the construction of an access ramp to the porch, providing access to the library for those unable to use stairs.

In 1946, the Lamont Memorial Free Library and its grounds were formally accepted by the residents of the Village of McGraw when they voted to assume the additional costs of its operation.  The expenses assumed by the village became part of the village budget.  Also, in 1946 the Lamont Memorial Free Library applied for and was granted membership in the Finger Lakes Library Association.

On December 17, 1948 the University of the State of New York Education Department granted an absolute Charter to the Lamont Memorial Free Library and established that the library would be administered by a Board of Trustees of five individuals with staggering terms.  The first Board consisted of Harry C. Chaffee, Claribel Warren, Mildred Tarbell, Frederick A. Purchas, and Carl D. Hammond.  It was set up in such a way that as the above named individuals’ terms expired their successors would be selected by the Village Board of Trustees of the Village of McGraw.

On September 7, 1954 the Board of Trustees of the Village of McGraw voted to transfer all assets held for the benefit of a library, except real property, to the trustees of the Lamont Memorial Free Library.  On January 27, 1956 the University of the State of New York Education Department Board of Regents recognized and approved this 1954 transfer.  A certificate to that effect hangs in the library today along with the original charter.

At that same time, the library board became responsible for the fundraising and expenses of the library.  Income from the Lamont endowment and a budgeted allotment from the Village budget were used to cover expenses. Since that time funding from the governments of the Town of Cortlandville, Solon, and at certain periods Freetown, as well as private gifts and a grant from the Finger Lakes Library Association have added to the income.  In 1998 the Library Board took advantage of the State Education Law that allowed them to seek financial support from the community through an appropriations proposition on the school district ballot authorizing the levy of taxes annually in the amount of $15,000, said amount to be paid over to the trustees of the Lamont Memorial Free Library for current and future expenses.  The proposition was approved in May of 1998. Since the implementation of the tax levy the Library Board has requested increases in the years 2006, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2019. Most years the requests were to cover increases to operating expenses, employee salaries/benefits, and program expenses. 2018 was the exception. The Town of Cortlandville had informed the Library Board that it would no longer be providing $27,000 for library services. This lack of funds placed the Library’s charter in jeopardy. Thankfully, the tax payers did not want to see the closure of the library, and approved the $27,000 request. The 2019 request brought the total tax levy to $59,500.

An Evaluation of Library Operations and Services was created by staff of the Finger Lakes Library System for the Lamont Library in 1998.  One of the major points of this report was the need for total renovation, remodeling, and some expansion of the library.  In 1999 a Historical Preservation Grant in the amount of $5,000 was obtained and a contract was entered into with Crawford and Stearns, Architects and Preservation Planners from Syracuse, NY to prepare a Planning and Assessment Report.  This report was presented to the library board in December 2000.  The report described existing conditions of the library and listed future needs to better serve the library patrons, to meet the handicap accessible requirements, and to better configure the library for today’s and tomorrow’s library operations.  The report also suggested that if financially prudent, a local history room could be added to the rear of the library to hold the Local Historical Society’s collection of village memorabilia and artifacts housed in the attic of the library.

During  2001 and early 2002 the library board worked with Ron Barrows of  “The Barrows Group,” to study and review a feasibility study for a Capital Campaign and the process for carrying on a Capital Fundraising Campaign.  In February 2002 a steering committee was established to help with the fundraising campaign, “Preserving Our Past – Preparing for the Future.”   In the fall of 2002 wallpapering and painting of the front portion of the library commenced and work was ongoing from that time until May of 2005 when the Local History Room was completed.  This work included foundation repair, side porch rebuilding, interior gutting and renovation of the rear portion of the library,  rebuilding of the old garage including a new addition for an enlarged children’s area, a new enclosed handicap access ramp and a new room for local history display.  The total cost of this 4 year project exceeded $340,000 and was paid for in full with grants, gifts and pledges from over 220 individuals and sources.

Early librarians included Mrs. Fancher, Miss Helen Saltsman, Mrs. Catherine Coon, and Mrs. Marian Van Arnam.  Not much information is known about these individuals. Their successors are as follows:

Mrs. Florence Walter, 1920-1963                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mrs. Walter developed outreach of the library into the community. She increased the collection of books from 1,200 to 12,000 with circulation figures increasing from 4,000 to 14,000 per year. She was extremely active working with the children and made everyone feel welcome in the library.

Mrs. Helen Cain, 1963-1983
Mrs. Cain realized the importance of the library being a member of the Finger Lakes Library System which enabled users to obtain books and audio visual items not available at Lamont.  The Children’s Room on the first floor was enlarged.  A second floor room was developed into a conference and reading room and was dedicated to Mrs. Walter.  Two other rooms were made into storage rooms for magazines and periodicals. Mrs. Cain enjoyed assisting people as they came in for books and made them feel this was their library.

Miss Deborah Barth, 1983-1993
Miss Barth started computerizing the library inventory of books in cooperation with the Finger Lakes Library System.  The children’s programs and the children’s book collection increased.  The children’s reading room was repainted with new drapes and book shelves and a small back room was turned into an office/storage room.  Debby always had an intuitive way of knowing just what book each patron would be waiting to read and often had the book out waiting for you.  She developed a strong and trusting rapport with the Jr. and Sr. High youth of the community and enjoyed each child who came into the library, making them feel that they were an important part of the library.

Mr. Gary Loudan, 1993-1997
Mr. Loudan realized the importance of the technical world and how it was going to affect a library.  He was personally interested in computers; new computers were purchased during his tenure and the library went on the internet.  This allowed the patrons to search the net, and McGraw found itself on the cutting edge, being way ahead of many other libraries in offering this service.  Gary was instrumental in training library users in this new technology.  High school students and adults became frequent users.  Mr. Loudan also greatly increased the variety of magazines available for circulation, realizing the wide interests of our patrons.

Mrs. Julie Widger, 1997-2010
Mrs. Widger took advantage of a variety of grants available to small libraries for programs, equipment, feasibility study, and construction/renovation.  Under her direction, the library implemented many special programs and workshops for children, teens and adults. She built a mutually beneficial working relationship with the Finger Lakes Library System, Cortland County Public Library Directors, Village Board, McGraw Recreation Department, McGraw Schools, McGraw Historical Society and several funding sources. Julie supervised the weeding, barcoding, and automation of the library, overseeing the transition from paper to three different automated systems.  She was actively involved in the planning, design, decorating, and monitoring of contractor’s work for the library’s Capital Campaign/Project from 2003-2005.  Mrs. Widger received the “Director of the Year” award in 2004 at the Finger Lakes Library System’s Annual Meeting for her service to her patrons and was open to new ideas and opportunities which would benefit the library’s patrons and residents of Cortland County.

Ms. Heather Cobb, 2011 – present




To continue the operation of a library in McGraw in a prudent and expedient manner as stated in the Mission Statement on page 1.


  • Establish and review policies so that the Library has direction.
  • Maintain a workable, useable collection.
  • Increase library use by 3% per
  • Develop and present programs and activities aimed at children, teens and adults.
  • Maintain a balanced budget for current operations, and plan for future financial endowments.  See the FINANCE section for more details.
  • Strengthen volunteer participation.


A. During the next two years the following policies need to be prepared/updated and adopted:

  • Update Circulation Policy
  • Maintenance Policy
  • Patron Complaint Policy
  • Gift/Memorial Policy
  • Emergency Plan Policy

All existing policies should be reviewed and updated annually.

B. The following actions can be taken to reach an increased library use of 3%.

1.)  Maintain existing working relationship with the schools by distributing educational packets, public service announcements, posters, and library bookmarks with library hours.

2.) Outreach programs for McGraw Elementary students and area daycares.

3.) Use high school and community volunteers for special projects/programs.

4.) Monthly news articles in the Cortland Standard and quarterly articles in the village newsletter.

5.) Maintain library website and Facebook page with library information, programs, and events.

C. Develop a list of new programs and innovative ways to implement them.

1.) Quarterly meeting of Cortland County Library Directors for the sharing of ideas

2.) Monthly staff/volunteer meetings

3.) Continued use of volunteers




The Library building belongs to the Village of McGraw.  The village provides lawn mowing and clearing of sidewalks.  The library board is responsible for cleaning and interior decorating of the library.  When possible, the village and library collaborate to maintain the library through available grants.   It is our goal to get the ultimate use from the building as a library at the same time maintaining the integrity of the building as the historic home of Daniel Lamont.


  • Develop a plan for regular maintenance and upkeep of the building.
  • Establish a pattern and routine time frame for interior decorating to maintain work accomplished during capital project.
  • Develop plan for continued maintenance/replacement of computers.


A.) The library board and director should at least once a year walk through the library together and create a list of items that need attention for regular upkeep of the building and then assign the responsibility to proper party involved. Example: wash windows.

1.)  Report in February to village board any work necessary in time for budget

B.) A plan for interior decoration should be created with a time frame assigned to activities, so that interior decoration could be accomplished in an on-going manner without creating major expense at one time.

C.) The board and director should (prior to budget preparation) review and list specific interior needs not addressed by village and within reason plan financially to meet those needs through the regular budget or through a special gift process.




Pursue assured and predictable income to support ongoing library services.


  • Continue working with the local government agencies that have been so supportive of our library operations.
  • Review and study fundraising projects for our operational budget.
  • Increase the efforts to obtain gifts from local area businesses and individuals.
  • Consider going back to the public with a referendum to increase the local tax income for library use.
  • Develop a plan to increase our endowment trust


A concerted effort needs to be undertaken to broaden the base of financial support personnel beyond just the board members. We need a larger number of individuals supporting the fundraising efforts of the library operations. This could be a volunteer finance committee or an informal, friends of the library group.

1.) To assure the continued support of the local government agencies, the library must submit timely accurate annual reports along with personal contact apprising of the library’s financial situation along with statistics of circulation, program attendance, and in-house use of library.

2.) Develop new fundraising ideas to keep local residents and patrons financially involved in the library’s budget needs. This can be accomplished by educating through news articles, messages in the village and school’s newsletters, and personal contacts.

3.) Strive for and develop large business and individual gifts through personal contact and letter writing programs.

4.) Increase funding from the local tax base through the referendum process using press releases and statistics to support request. Solicit support of school administration and school board or if not supportive, at least in a no comment position. Obtain vocal support of teachers for proposal.

5.) Review endowment yearly with financial advisor from bank and make appropriate changes as needed.

6.) Board Treasurer will meet with director each fall to work on budget.

7.) Accountant, John Reagan will prepare 990 each year.

8.) Increasing the library’s endowment trust fund would give the library more income from the trust to use for operational expenses. The following actions should be taken:

    • Include estate planning information on the library’s website
    • Letters sent to all the attorneys, financial advisers, and funeral directors in the area advising that the Lamont Library has an endowment fund and would like to build the principal of the fund and ask that they share this information with their clients




The Board of Trustees of the Library will review and evaluate the plan annually to measure how well the objectives have been met and to review areas where changes should occur.


The Long Range Plan process enables the Lamont Memorial Free Library to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of its current operation in light of the community’s expressed needs and expectations.  Major service roles are identified as priorities and specific tactical and operational goals are outlined as a means of implementing those concepts within a defined time frame.  The library remains committed to meeting the needs of the McGraw/Cortland/Cortlandville community as it has for over one hundred years of its service.  The library is determined to continue the long tradition of excellence in a modern context. The goals and objectives described in this plan will enable the Lamont Memorial Free Library to meet the needs of its patrons and guarantee a secure future.


It is resolved that the long range plan contained here-in is accepted by the Lamont Memorial Free Library Board of Trustees.

It is further resolved that the long range plan as published be reviewed and evaluated on an annual basis and totally reviewed and revised every year with formal documentation of progress and changes published in a similar manner to this plan.

It shall be the responsibility of the Board President to convene the review process and to have reports given for each component of the plan at least once a year.

*Recognition is given to the Strategic Plan Aurora Free Library, and to the Five Year Plan of the Baden Powell Council, BSA for much of the outline and format of this plan and in some cases for specific wording.

Revised & Adopted: December 21, 2009

Revised: October 18, 2021