Schenectady County Legislature Names County Library System Central Branch for Hon. Karen B. Johnson

Honorable Karen B Johnson Public Library

The Schenectady County Legislature last night voted to honor Legislator Karen B. Johnson by naming the Schenectady County Public Library System Central Branch the Honorable Karen B. Johnson Library.  Legislator Johnson, who is currently serving in her fifth term on the county legislature, is also the former Mayor of the City of Schenectady and long-time advocate for the county-wide library system.

“Mrs. Johnson has dedicated her life to the betterment of her community and its citizens, having a profound effect on the residents of the city and county that she loved so much,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature.  “It is our honor to permanently recognize her commitment and dedication to the mission and programs of the Schenectady County Public Library System by naming the central branch in her name, The Honorable Karen B. Johnson Library.”

Mrs. Johnson first came to Schenectady in the late 1960’s with her husband and immersed herself in civic life and volunteerism, eventually becoming a member of various boards and organizations whose purpose was to improve the life of Schenectady’s citizens.  Accompanied by her two energetic, young boys, Mrs. Johnson would often visit the public library, stating, “Every mother needs a place to go with their kids to take a break.” She later became an active member of the Friends of the Library eventually becoming the group’s President.

Mrs. Johnson was elected to the County Legislature in 2001 and served as Chair of the County Legislature’s Education Committee for several years.  In that capacity, Legislator Johnson was instrumental in advocating for the library system and focusing on literacy as one of the Library’s core missions.  She played a key role in the expansion of the Main Branch and the children’s library.  She also advocated for the new Phyllis Bornt Branch as well as the soon to be completed Mt. Pleasant Branch.

Chairman Jasenski also noted that the dedication of the central library was a fitting tribute because the front of the central branch looks out upon Schenectady City Hall where Mrs. Johnson made history when she was elected to serve as the first female member of the Schenectady City Council, and the first female Mayor of the City of Schenectady. 

Noting that Legislator Johnson had been unable to join her colleagues at meeting for the past few months for health reasons, Chairman Jasenski said, “We have missed Legislator Johnson’s vast experience and wisdom on this body, and wanted to appropriately acknowledge what an integral part of this legislature, the City of Schenectady and Schenectady County she has been.”

Jasenski added, “My colleagues and I discussed what an appropriate tribute to this great woman and great public servant who has given so much to this community would be.  As we looked back at her career, we thought dedicating the Central Branch of the Schenectady County Public Library to her was very fitting.”

A formal unveiling of a plaque recognizing Mrs. Johnson will be made this spring as weather permits.