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Binghamton’s Historic Library Vacant for 12 Years

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The Carnegie library building constructed on Exchange Street in downtown Binghamton in the early 20th century has been unused since the new Broome County Public Library opened in 2000.

The structure that housed the city’s library for almost 100 years sits idle near Courthouse Square.

It was built as the result of a $75,000 gift from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

As the building continues to deteriorate, there are no indications of activity at the site.

A sign remains taped to the window of the front door advising patrons that the library had been closed in preparation for the move to the new building, which opened twelve years ago.

On WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program Friday, Broome County historian Gerald Smith fondly recalled the years he worked at the Exchange Street library.

Smith said there was a “lot of sadness” when the time came to move to the newly-constructed Court Street facility.

The historian said he’s been in the Carnegie building twice since then.

Smith said he accompanied Roger Luther of the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier about two years ago as Luther photographed the interior of the old library.

Smith said it’s a solid building that could be rehabilitated. Although there’s been some decay inside, he said it’s not as bad as one might have expected for a building that’s been sitting without heat or electricity for a decade.

Smith said it was in “better shape than I could have imagined.”

The historian said he hopes it will one day be back in use.

Broome County sold the building to a Sullivan County developer in April 2002 for $112,000.

The Broome County Industrial Development Agency has discussed taking possession of the property through eminent domain proceedings.

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