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Libraries in New York's towns, cities, and schools are at a “breaking point” and need additional funding for various initiatives, advocates said in January 2007. The New York Library Association is asking for a $27 million increase in operating aid to library systems, as well as $14 million for construction projects and $5 million for the state's online electronic library. “For far too long, libraries have gotten the short end of the stick,” said Steve Madarasz of the Civil Service Employees Association, a union that represents 5,000 library workers in New York. “This is a cost-effective investment in the future of our state.” The state spend about $92 million on libraries in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the first year that the funding formula used the 2000 Census and not the 1990 Census. This resulted in a $2.7 million increase in aid. Now they want the additional $27 million to make up for what they said has been eight years of flat funding. According to the Library Association, New Yorkers made 5 million more visits to libraries in 2005 than in 1998, according to the Ithaca Journal.

Reduction in library funding has resulted in severe cuts to operating budgets, library closures, limited hours, reduced materials budgets, hiring freezes or elimination of personnel, and reduced library programming.

To search the data, select specific information from the drop-down menus, or use the grid below to see all current funding information about this state.

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library NY
P
06/15/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: In a $59-billion budget agreement announced June 12, New York City public libraries will be funded for six-day-a-week service for the first time in six years. Based on a record $4.4-billion surplus, the budget will also reduce property taxes by 7% and provide some sales tax relief on clothing and shoe purchases of over $110. Cinched with a handshake and a kiss between Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn in the City Hall rotunda, the deal comes weeks earlier than expected, the New York Times reported June 13, and was the earliest since Bloomberg took office in 2002. “Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn, and the whole City Council have made the best possible investment in education, job readiness, and quality of life by restoring six-day-a-week library service in the FY2008 budget,” Queens Library Director Thomas W. Galante told American Libraries. “People in Queens will be reaping the benefits for years to come. We can’t thank them enough for their foresight and hard work.” The Council was expected to officially approve the deal with a vote on June 15. The new budget adds about $230 million to the formal budget proposal the mayor unveiled in April and affects the operating hours of the 63-location Queens system as well as the 82-branch New York Public Library and the 58-branch Brooklyn Public Library. Bloomberg called the early agreement “a tribute to the cooperative relationship we’ve developed with the City Council leadership, members, and the budget staff. Together we’ve reached a budget that we think is good for the entire city and one that will carry us over and keep us from making some of the mistakes of the past.” Quinn said the budget “balances fiscal responsibility with the need to provide essential city services to New Yorkers.” The Times reported that the library provision represents a victory for Quinn, who championed the proposition that all public libraries return to being open at least six days a week—a service that was lost in cuts after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The expanded hours are expected to begin in July, not over three years as Quinn originally proposed. The Council also restored $21 million in financing that will allow City University of New York to retain full-time faculty and hire more professors. (American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Mahopac Public Library Westerchester County
P
06/14/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters last night approved the Mahopac Public Library's referendum for a $2.4 million budget for 2007-08 by a vote of 678-510. The proposal called for a 3.7 percent increase over the current year's operating budget while cutting library hours by three hours per week and some programs. This was the second budget vote the library's 11-member Board of Directors has put to the public. A first vote on April 11, which called for spending to increase $90,000 over the current $2.3 million, was rejected in a light turnout. It would have maintained all current services. "I was really pleased with the turnout," said Patricia Kaufman, library director. "I am very glad that the 'yes' votes prevailed." To fund the accepted budget, library officials will need to raise $2,162,721 from property taxes - up from the current $2,085,554. For a property valued at $200,000, the annual tax for library services will go from $205.44 to $213.04, which includes bond repayment for a new building. The library anticipates roughly $210,000 in revenues from fines, fees and gifts; $50,000 from the town of Carmel; and $76,000 from Putnam County. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library NY
P
06/13/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: As patrons checked out books at the Tompkins Square branch of the New York Public Library Wednesday, they were quietly rejoicing over word that they will soon have more time to look through the stacks. “It's terrific,” said local resident Cynthia Mount. “The library is wonderful place in New York. I couldn't live in New York without it, so six days a week is great.” That six-day service expansion was announced Tuesday night as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's budget agreement with the City Council. At a cost of $43 million, library hours across the five boroughs will expand to roughly 45 hours a week, or six days. Bloomberg scaled back library hours during the height of the city's budget crisis, frustrating many bookworms. “It wasn't the end of the world, but sometimes you want to stop by and you go, ‘oh it's closed,’” said another local, Clarina Maclow. Libraries won't expand their hours immediately. The New York Public Library expects six-day service to start in July, once the new fiscal year begins and funding is in place. The Queens and Brooklyn libraries say they need to hire hundreds of additional staff members to work the new hours. In fact, the Brooklyn Public Library says it could take three months to get all 60 of its libraries up to full six-day service. At the Tompkins Square branch, even some children were thrilled about the new hours. “You don't have to wait two days, you only have to wait one for it to open again,” said a young bookworm. Now New Yorkers will not need to rearrange their schedules just to take out a book. (NY1 News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library NY
P
06/13/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: MAYOR BLOOMBERG and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn sealed a $59 billion budget deal with a double-kiss and a handshake yesterday - rolling out a spending plan packed with tax breaks for property owners and additional city services. The budget deal - which comes at a time when the city is flush with its largest surplus ever - calls for a $1.3 billion drop in taxes, including a one-year 7% property tax cut. "Together we've produced a budget that we think is good for the entire city and one that will carry this city forward," Bloomberg said in the rotunda of City Hall. Bloomberg had proposed a 5% property tax cut in his executive budget. But Council members pushed for a deeper cut, arguing that average homeowners would still see higher bills because the assessed value of homes has been increasing. The final deal will keep average homeowners' tax bills flat, the mayor said. The spending plan sets aside $42.7 million to keep all public libraries open six days a week, effective immediately, and includes additional money to create summer jobs for youth, programs to help autistic children and health initiatives to combat obesity. The budget also banks $2.3 billion to reduce expected debt in 2009 and 2010. "This is a very fiscally prudent and responsible budget," said Quinn, noting the city's $4.4 billion surplus. "Other City Councils, and other mayors at other times might have sought to spend that entire surplus. That is not what happened in this year's budget," she added. The additional funding for public libraries drew the loudest applause from lawmakers. The added cash will be "baselined" in the budget - meaning it automatically will be included in future spending plans, so that Council members don't have to fight for the funds each year. "This is a city of immigrants and we have to make sure they have services, and libraries are a traditional magnet for them," said Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens). The budget, the second negotiated between Bloomberg and Quinn, includes $233 million in additional spending for initiatives proposed by the Council - the same as last year. But the plan for the 2008 fiscal year, which begins July 1, does not include a rebate for renters that Quinn had proposed. "It's an idea I'm going to keep working toward," she said. Other highlights include $200 million for transit projects, bike paths, tree plantings and other environmental initiatives urged by Bloomberg, $1 billion for a new Police Academy in Queens and $21 million for CUNY to hire more full-time faculty. The City Council is expected to approve the budget before Friday, when property tax bills are mailed to homeowners. (Daily News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public libraries NY
P
06/12/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The city will hold the line on property taxes but offer no tax credit for renters in a $59 billion budget deal announced last night that also includes a major expansion of library hours and $2.3 billion to pay off future debt. "We're trying to do a number of things at the same time - we want to reduce the tax burden on the people of the city and increase services," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the City Hall Rotunda announcing the 2008 budget deal. "It's the right balance to keep this city growing." The budget, which is expected to be formally approved by the Council later this week, resolves a dispute between the mayor and several council members over how to use a projected $4 billion surplus. The budget deal sets aside $2.3 billion to plug projected deficits in 2009 and 2010, but it also reduces the property tax rate by 7 percent, compared with the 5 percent cut originally proposed by the mayor. Quinn had wanted to offer a renter's tax credit of $300, which also would have required state legislative approval, and expand library services to full day hours, six days a week. The library expansion got in; the renter's tax credit will have to wait until next year, Quinn said. "Sometimes you put ideas out there," Quinn said, "and it takes more than one year to accomplish." (Newsday)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Mahopac Public Library Westerchester County
P
06/11/2007
Negative Impact: The Mahopac Public Library's board of directors has shaved nearly $46,000 from its $2.4 million budget proposal for 2007-08 and is hoping to get public approval the second time around. The plan represents a 3.7 percent increase in spending and goes to voters Wednesday. On April 11, voters defeated a proposal that had called for $90,000 more in spending over this year's $2.3 million budget, nearly a 7 percent increase. The vote was 379-333. This second attempt has some cuts in services but would maintain most library functions. If approved, it calls for reducing library hours by three per week and cutting programs. Further budget cuts would be required if this budget fails, officials said. "Public libraries are all about public service, people to people," library director Patricia Kaufman said. "We need people to answer reference questions, help people navigate the Internet, do story times, shelve and catalog books." Kaufman said the library would open at 10 a.m. rather than 9:30 a.m. six days a week to reduce staff costs. The earlier budget proposal would have maintained all current services and programs, she said. On average, 19,000 people use the library each month, an increase of 2,000 over last year, Kaufman said. Roughly 4,500 patrons use the computers, and there are at least 200 programs held there each month. It serves the Mahopac school district, and its property taxes are raised from properties in the district. The library has extended its polling hours and will open at 6 a.m. rather than at 9:30 a.m. as in previous votes. Voting will end at 9 p.m. and is held at the library, 668 Route 6. Alice Walsh, the board's vice president, said she hoped more people would vote and support the library. "We know people don't want tax increases. However, we do know the community loves the library," she said. "Unfortunately, last time only a small fraction voted. Having the budget be decided by 700 people is unfortunate. Please come, let your voice be heard and use the library often." Under the current proposal, property taxes on a house assessed at $200,000 would go from $205.44 to $213.04 a year, roughly 63 cents a month more. Taxes on a house assessed at $400,000 would go from $410.87 to $426.08 a year, or $1.27 a month more. Two years ago, voters approved an annual library budget of $2,304,744. State law allows the library to operate at the 2006-07 funding level without a new vote. The library, under its state charter, is not a taxing authority but is encouraged to make its funding requests directly to the property owners. The taxes appear as a separate line item on a property owner's bills. In the April vote, five community members were elected to the library's board. Anthony Battista, Frank Del Campo and Joseph Tock received full five-year terms, Barbara Kotoski a four-year term and Matthew Ganis a three-year term. The trustees are unpaid. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westchester County
P
06/06/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters last night approved the $1.9 million library budget and re-elected a trustee. The passage of the Pearl River Public Library's 2007-08 budget means that property owners will pay about $13 more for services, which translates into a 3.2 percent tax rate increase. Incumbent Anne Brebbia, a former board president who was unopposed, received 191 votes and will serve a fourth term. She was first appointed to the position in 1987 after another trustee resigned. Kathy Rose, the Pearl River Public Library's interim director, said last night the vote was 164-68. The staff knew the community supported the library based on comments from patrons, she said. "But it's very nice to see it also in the budget vote," Rose said. The tax rate is $1.43 per $1,000 of assessed value. A property owner with a home assessed at $180,000, Orangetown's average, will pay about $257. That's a fair cost for Sandra Colodner, who said the library has come a long way since she moved here 49 years ago. She uses the library often for its books and DVDs. "It's more than that," Colodner said of the former library that was in a small building on Ridge Street. "This is a hub, it's truly a hub of the town. ... It's one of the best places in town. I'm back and fourth like a yo-yo." Rose had said the reason for the increase was contractually obligated salary raises for library staff. The board budgeted $1.07 million, or $43,918 more, for staff salaries because of the 4.1 percent raises negotiated for the 50 full- and part-time employees. It budgeted $339,219 for staff benefits. There are also increases for automation, up $5,000 to $55,000; building and maintenance repairs, up $1,500 to $11,500; and gas and electric, up $2,000 to $60,000. Revenues are also expected to increase, in part, because of rising interest rates. Rose had said earned interest would rise $13,000 to $30,000. She also expected a slight increase of $1,000 in grant money. Tim McCarvill was toting two of his three children to the library yesterday and said it was a great resource for families. "It's worth the money," McCarvill said of the expected $300 or so he would pay in library taxes. "For me now, it's worth it." The library in 2006 had 10,848 card holders and had 198,846 items borrowed. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
NY
s
05/31/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: First Lady Laura Bush was in Manhattan to announce the latest round of school library grants from her foundation. Twenty-eight schools in New York State will receive new grants, among them the Island School on the Lower East Side where Mrs. Bush made the announcement. BUSH: The Island School library is what every school library should be. A vibrant place brought to life by the children and their love of books. REPORTER: The grants are worth up to 5-thousand dollars each and are going to more than 260 schools nationwide. The Island School was awarded its first grant two years ago, which was used to buy more books on languages, science and mysteries. Mayor Bloomberg praised the First Lady for her efforts to improve literacy. (WNYC)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/26/2007
Negative Impact: Legislator Vincent Tamagna, a former champion of county funding for libraries, museums and mental health organizations, now says cash-strapped Putnam can't afford to help finance those agencies and many others in 2008. "The money we take from taxpayers has reached an end," said Tamagna, R-Philipstown, who wants county officials to warn the groups to start looking elsewhere for funding. "People expect Putnam County to do what it has done in the past. It can't do it because of its financial shape." Legislature Chairman Dan Birmingham, R-Brewster, said Tamagna's proposal will be discussed at the Tuesday Budget and Finance Committee meeting at the County Office Building in Carmel. The heads of organizations that received some of the $1.9 million Putnam gave to outside agencies this year have already reacted with alarm. Funding cuts would curtail or seriously hinder their ability to provide services to Putnam residents, they say. "We worked so hard to increase our services to meet the needs of the children, adults and seniors of Putnam County," said Edythe Schwartz, executive director of Putnam Family and Community Services, which provides mental health care. "We got rid of our waiting list. Whatever cut there is would mean a reduction in services." Cuts would also mean the loss of matching state grants, Schwartz said. The agency, which has a $5 million budget, received $485,744 from Putnam in 2007. The organization gets the rest of its money from the federal and state governments, foundations, private donors and patient fees. To wean the agencies off county funding, Putnam should help them become more proficient in obtaining corporate donations and federal and state grants, Tamagna said. "If the county is in a fiscal crisis, we don't want to create a fiscal crisis for the outside agencies in September or October," he said. Tamagna said his initiative follows budget projections by County Executive Robert Bondi indicating a potential tax increase of 66 percent in 2008. The increase would be about 40 percent if the state Legislature renews a half-percent sales tax it granted Putnam in 2005. This year's $121.3 million budget was bolstered by an 18.65 percent property tax increase. Patricia Seger of Mahopac said she pays too much in taxes and has little to show for it. She wants her tax dollars to finance services for residents, particularly those for seniors like herself and her husband. "What are they spending this money on?" Seger said. "We pay for water, septic, garbage, everything out of our own pockets." Bondi, who proposed cutting county funding to outside agencies by 30 percent when preparing the 2006 budget, opposes Tamagna's plan. An infusion of $575,000 in state funding, secured by state Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson, staved off the cuts in the final days of the budget process. Bondi said a survey conducted by his administration in preparation for this year's budget convinced him of residents' willingness to pay to keep quality-of-life services such as libraries, the Humane Society and arts organizations. "There is very strong support for services even if it means steep tax increases," he said. "We feel at this time that all the services Putnam County pays for are important for the welfare of the people." Legislator Tony Hay, R-Southeast, a fiscal conservative, and Legislator Sam Oliverio, D-Putnam Valley, said they also would not support Tamagna. "There's no way we're going to cut the funding 100 percent or even 10 or 15 percent," Hay said. "We haven't given these institutions a raise in three years," Oliverio said. "To threaten them with cuts is unacceptable." To stabilize the county's financial situation in 2008, Bondi has called for an increase in Putnam's sales tax rate to 8.375 percent. The county Legislature backs the move. But Assemblyman Greg Ball, R-Carmel, has requested that the state Legislature extend the existing half percent without adding an additional half percent. Ball has said he is not convinced Putnam has cut enough of its spending. Kathleen Delamere, head of the Putnam County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, said the organization would fold without the $10,000 a year it gets from the county. Patti Haar, Patterson's library director and head of the Putnam County Librarians Association, said $352,116 in county money this year is paying for literacy programs, high-speed Internet service and on-line database access. The services would not be available without the county money, Haar said. {dcidc}Reach Susan Elan at selan@lohud.com or 845-228-2277. {}What's next A proposal to reduce Putnam spending in 2008 by suspending county contributions to libraries, museums, Putnam Family and Community Services and other organizations will be discussed by county legislators at the Budget and Finance Committee meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Room 318 of the Putnam County Office Building, 40 Gleneida Ave., Carmel. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Chappaqua Public Library White Plains
P
05/22/2007
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Positive Impact: Voters also approved a $2.8 million budget for the Chappaqua Public Library. The vote was 864-272. (Journal News) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Onondaga County
P
05/22/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Nine libraries in Onondaga County have been awarded a more than $446,000 for building repairs and improvements from New York state. The libraries and their projects are: Central Library, a restroom for Children's World, $18,329; Paine Branch, Americans with Disabilities-compliant ramp and entrance, $44,968; White Branch, ADA-compliant ramp and window replacement, $88,681; Betts Branch, ADA-compliant restroom and entrance ramps, 38,095; Soule Branch, ADA-compliant restroom, $22,488; Fayetteville Library, Community Cafe and Performance Space, $75,934; Liverpool Library, roof, $75,735; Tully Library, roof, $6,000; and Solvay Library, ADA-compliant entrance, $75,934. Four others received smaller grants totaling more than $25,500. They are: Central Library, improved accessibility to the STAR room and supplemental air conditioning for the computer lab , $6,167; Tully Library, attic sealing and insulating, $7,400; Fayetteville Library, roof work , $5,970; Solvay Library, ADA-compliant restroom and replacement heating, ventilation and air conditioning, $5,970. (The Post Standard)  

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Rochester Public Library Rochester
P
05/22/2007
Negative Impact: In the past year, more than 11/2 million people found reason to use the 11 branches that constitute our Rochester Public Library. Early this spring, at one of the two buildings that make up the library's central branch in downtown Rochester, at one of the 84 computers open to public use, one of those people, an adult, was observed by a TV reporter to be viewing a site thought to be offensive for children. The incident was quickly reported to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, who registered her horror and indignation by announcing a public threat to withhold $6.6 million in county aid to the Rochester Public Library. That would close the 73-year run of the central branch, which last year alone was used by 700,000 people. But it also would have a profound effect on all of our town libraries by ending the countywide computerized card catalog and Internet access systems, the use of countywide library cards, and the inter-library loan services, all of which are provided through the Rochester Public Library's Monroe County Library Services program. Why did the library system become the object of Brooks' wrath? An adult at the library viewed something on the Internet that struck some reporter as offensive. The same thing could have been viewed on any computer anywhere. Yet for this, the entire Rochester Public Library is faced with the loss of county funding, and the town libraries throughout the county will suffer the loss of important services. Is there no sense of proportionality? And who will be hurt by Brooks' decision? Well, for openers, how about the 11/2 million people who use the Rochester Public Library? And what of the county itself? The central branch houses technical information irreplaceable for many area businesses. If we lose the central branch, what will that say to those major corporations that we have been trying to attract to Monroe County to revive our dwindling employment opportunities? Isn't Brooks concerned that potential employers are already discouraged at the thought of relocating to a city where less than 40 percent of high school students graduate? Isn't it enough that Rochester leads the four large upstate cities with its homicide rate? Do we now have to lose the one institution that provides all our citizens free access to information, education and communications? We should not be lulled into thinking that the threat to withhold public library funding is an idle gesture that will pass away with the next election. It has real and immediate consequences. There are 300 library employees who will likely become unnerved with uncertainty about their employment, and start looking elsewhere for their futures. Quality librarians will not seek employment in a system threatened by closure due to a lack of funding. Our public libraries are a community treasure. We should demand that this misplaced threat be publicly withdrawn. Right now. Shapiro is a member, board of directors, Friends of the Rochester Public Library. (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)  

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Library Name City Type Date
NY
P
05/15/2007
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Positive Impact: Even seasoned New Yorkers may be unfamiliar with Jersey Street. It’s more alley than avenue, tucked between Mulberry and Crosby Streets like a quaint movie-set reminder of old Manhattan. But those who do know the block’s history will tell you that No. 10 was where the Hawley & Hoops candy factory churned out chocolate cigarettes and cigars starting in the late 19th century. Now, that brick-and-steel building, built in 1886, has been reincarnated as something neighborhood residents have wanted for years: a new library. The 87th branch in the New York Public Library system, it is to open in a public ceremony at 3 p.m. Monday. “What we tried to do was bring a sophisticated library to a sophisticated community,” said Paul LeClerc, the library system’s president and chief executive. “I think the fact that it is in a historic building — not in a new structure — is important. It reminds people of the industrial history of that community.” The Mulberry Street branch, as it will be known, has been long in coming. Design work started nearly six years ago, right around 9/11, but the renovation did not begin until the fall of 2004. It will be the first new library branch in Manhattan since 1989, and the first ever in SoHo. For the architecture firm Rogers Marvel, the project’s challenges were considerable. Much of the space, which was most recently occupied by a store, is below ground — only one floor is at street level — so planners had to design what is essentially a deep basement without making it feel like a basement. The budget was limited: $6.1 million for 12,000 square feet. The entrance had to be accessible to the handicapped, but the sidewalk was too narrow for ramps to be added at street level. The architects tried to turn the drawbacks into opportunities. They obtained permission from the city’s Department of Transportation to raise the entire sidewalk, allowing room for a ramp to the entrance and permitting fresh air to flow underneath to the lower level. Lights beaming up through sidewalk grills now illuminate the entryway. While the building’s nooks, crannies and idiosyncrasies were something of a nightmare for the contractors, the architects made the most of them by carving out inviting reading areas. To accommodate pipes on the second level, the level just below the street, they lowered the ceiling and created a cozy story-hour corner with comfortable upholstered chairs. In the space for older children on that level, the architects installed clear glass to give young visitors a front-row seat on Manhattan bedrock. “We wanted a Harry Potter dungeonlike atmosphere,” said Jonathan Marvel, one of the principal architects. “So daytime or nighttime, you always feel like there’s some mysterious thing going on outside.” In the central stairwell, they designed a staircase that allows the light to filter down from the street. The path of the staircase is indirect, requiring visitors to walk around as well as up and down. This reinforced the architects’ theme of circulation — of air, light, people and books. “You can’t go directly to the next level; you have to wind your way around through bridges and landings,” Mr. Marvel said. “It plays up the process of discovery — what book do you want to find?” Above the third and lowest level, the architects used an existing opening as an overlook so visitors could gaze down upon what Mr. Marvel calls the building’s “crown jewel”: the old boiler vault, now the main reading room. Anchored by the original cast-iron columns, this space, the library’s largest, has an industrial grandeur, with the warmth of an exposed brick wall juxtaposed with the cool concrete floor. “We wanted this to feel like a college library, where you could get lost in the stacks,” Mr. Marvel said. “We didn’t want you to feel 30 feet below grade.” In honoring the surrounding area’s original aesthetic, the architects were able to save money on materials. “SoHo is a cast-iron and masonry neighborhood, and all those materials are reflected in this space,” Mr. Marvel said. The staircase is made of industrial steel and concrete with mahogany handrails and perforated stainless-steel guardrails. The brick walls have been washed and left as is. The architects could have installed new flooring but instead refinished the original oak. “We wanted to save them in their beat-up and sloping nature,” Mr. Marvel said. “It adds character and patina that you can’t get from a new floor.” They arranged the children’s information desks around the original steel columns in a doughnut formation. They used the existing arcade of granite piers to shape the young adult space and filled it with movable cushy chairs on casters designed to be practically indestructible. “It was a clear-cut case of the existing architecture becoming the inspiration for how the space was configured,” Mr. Marvel said. For the street-level floor, which features new books and the checkout counter, the architects turned one of the old ceiling beams into a rustic desk for the computer station. To encourage people to hang out with their newspapers or laptops — the library is wired for Internet access — the architects lined the room with banquette seating. Mr. Marvel said the layout of long wooden benches was inspired by the old Staten Island Ferry. “As museums have become co-opted by gift shops and high prices for entry,” Mr. Marvel said, libraries and bookstores have reasserted their role as public gathering spaces. They arranged the children’s information desks around the original steel columns in a doughnut formation. They used the existing arcade of granite piers to shape the young adult space and filled it with movable cushy chairs on casters designed to be practically indestructible. “It was a clear-cut case of the existing architecture becoming the inspiration for how the space was configured,” Mr. Marvel said. For the street-level floor, which features new books and the checkout counter, the architects turned one of the old ceiling beams into a rustic desk for the computer station. To encourage people to hang out with their newspapers or laptops — the library is wired for Internet access — the architects lined the room with banquette seating. Mr. Marvel said the layout of long wooden benches was inspired by the old Staten Island Ferry. “As museums have become co-opted by gift shops and high prices for entry,” Mr. Marvel said, libraries and bookstores have reasserted their role as public gathering spaces. They arranged the children’s information desks around the original steel columns in a doughnut formation. They used the existing arcade of granite piers to shape the young adult space and filled it with movable cushy chairs on casters designed to be practically indestructible. “It was a clear-cut case of the existing architecture becoming the inspiration for how the space was configured,” Mr. Marvel said. For the street-level floor, which features new books and the checkout counter, the architects turned one of the old ceiling beams into a rustic desk for the computer station. To encourage people to hang out with their newspapers or laptops — the library is wired for Internet access — the architects lined the room with banquette seating. Mr. Marvel said the layout of long wooden benches was inspired by the old Staten Island Ferry. “As museums have become co-opted by gift shops and high prices for entry,” Mr. Marvel said, libraries and bookstores have reasserted their role as public gathering spaces. “This is truly a neighborhood library,” he said. “While SoHo has become an outdoor mall, here’s a place for respite from the battles between art and commerce.” Correction: May 18, 2007 An article on Tuesday about a new branch of the New York Public Library on Jersey Street on the edge of SoHo referred imprecisely to the street. It runs from Mulberry Street past Lafayette Street to Crosby Street — not just from Mulberry to Lafayette, the block where the library is located. (The New York Times)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Oneonta
P
05/10/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Three area public libraries have been awarded grants for building projects as part of a $14 million 2006 special state legislative appropriation of capital funds for construction and renovations. Libraries in Cobleskill, Sharon Springs and Greene were among those receiving funding. Community Library in Cobleskill was awarded $53,312 for extensive renovation of the existing building, including demolition of floors, ceilings and stairs; replacement of plumbing, electrical and heating systems; new structural columns and beams; and new insulation, gutters, doors, sprinkler system, windows and bathrooms. The Sharon Springs Free Library will be getting $42,040 for reconstruction of part of the building purchased in 2004, including new walls, electric, plumbing, windows and accessible doors, and exterior work. Moore Memorial Library in Greene was allocated $154,093 for construction of a 2,477-square-foot addition, including installation of new HVAC and a new walkway and entrance that will be handicapped-accessible. There is a documented $1.7 billion need for public-library construction and renovation in the state, according to Janet Welch, state librarian and assistant commissioner for libraries. She added that ongoing funding for public-library construction is $800,000. The announced grants are from the special 2006 allocation of $14 million and are separate from the annual ongoing $800,000, Welch added. The recently passed state budget provides an additional appropriation of $14 million for public-library construction. Information on how libraries and library systems can apply for that round of grants will be available in the coming weeks, Welch said. In a separate program, Community Library in Cobleskill received six refurbished computers to support its educational activities, donated by the New York Power Authority. The library will receive computers under the Computer Recycling for Education and Technology Enhancement program. Created by state law, the program authorizes state agencies and authorities to provide refurbished computers to educational institutions across New York. (the Daily Star)  

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Butterfield Library Cold Spring
P
05/09/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: A state Supreme Court justice has ruled that the Butterfield library in Cold Spring is due an annual funding increase of $151,000 in accordance with a Nov. 7 referendum approved by voters. Justice Andrew O'Rourke has instructed the town of Philipstown to "immediately pay over to (the library) the sum of $276,000 for the 2007 fiscal year." The Philipstown Town Board had refused to send the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library its appropriation, saying voters had not been clearly notified of the proposition. But no formal objections to the vote had been filed, and the Putnam County Board of Elections certified the vote in December. It wasn't until January that the town announced it had budgeted only $125,000 for the library and was reviewing the matter. The library sued the town, demanding it adhere to the election result. The proposition passed by a vote of 1,086 to 973. "The electorate was given published notice of the library's proposition and the voters expressed their wishes by passing the proposition," O'Rourke wrote in one of two decisions, dated Friday, in favor of the library. They were filed Monday. The justice acknowledged the county's Elections Board made an error in its first legal notice, but it was corrected in a second notice. "Because of the (Elections Board's) error ... the voters of Philipstown should (not) be disenfranchised," he wrote. "Only a court could nullify the results of an election." County Election Commissioner Robert Bennett said yesterday that he was pleased with the decision. "This was a compliance issue," he said. "To overthrow the result of an election is very serious." Town Supervisor Bill Mazzuca declined immediate comment about the decision yesterday, and it was unclear if the town planned to appeal. Cold Spring resident Kara Bickham, who voted for the increase, zeroed in on voters' rights. "I am so glad the judge went straight to the point," she said. "There are always controversial votes. I want to protect our vote." Bickham and others had addressed the Town Board on Thursday. "I think we will come to rue the day we throw out a vote," Cold Spring resident Steve Sterling told the board. "I worry about this and ask you all to find a way to avoid this slippery slope." The library, on Morris Avenue in Cold Spring, is open to all Philipstown residents and is near the Haldane schools. The other public library in town, Desmond-Fish in Garrison, is supported by an endowment and private donations, and only relies on a small amount from the town. The November referendum was triggered by a 1996 state law encouraging libraries to take their funding requests directly to the community. Once approved, the budget amount would be collected annually. A new vote would be required if an increase was requested, according to the law. Library officials had estimated the cost to an average property owner to be $29 a year, from the current $13 a year. Library usage at Butterfield has nearly quadrupled in the past five years. In 2000, patrons borrowed slightly more than 8,000 items; last year, users checked out more than 31,000. Mazzuca had earlier noted that only about half the nearly 4,000 people who voted in the November election pulled a lever for the library proposition. He suggested that not enough people were aware of it, and blamed county election officials. The supervisor said he and the four other board members weren't trying to "overturn any election" in refusing to turn over the money, just reacting to residents. "I would ask that people not get tunnel vision," Councilman Richard Shea said before O'Rourke's decision. "We have acted in good faith with the library. ... We have a difference of opinion." Some town residents, particularly in the southern areas primarily served by the Garrison library, have complained about the vote. Joselle Cunane said those living outside Cold Spring, a village on the north end of town, didn't know about the referendum, and many oppose the higher funding. Michael Leonard of Continental Village said he, too, questioned the library's budget. "I don't think they told us what they wanted the money for," he told the Town Board last week, and suggested that Cold Spring property owners should bear the tax burden. (The Journal News)  

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New York State Library system
P
05/07/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The New York State Library system has announced $14 million in grants to public libraries throughout the state for construction and renovation, including 21 libraries in Nassau County and 14 in Suffolk County as well as the library systems of each county. The grants will be used to update libraries for computer and other technological uses, replace heating/cooling systems and roofs, and bring facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The grants were awarded through a special legislative appropriation for capital funds. According to the state Education Department, $1.7 billion is needed for public library construction in the state. The New York Knowledge Initiative, a set of legislative goals identified by the Board of Regents, proposes that $30 million be provided annually in ongoing permanent funding for public library construction beginning in 2008-09. Nassau libraries and the amounts they will receive are: Bethpage ($2,500); East Meadow ($109,452); Freeport ($76,987); Garden City ($4,955); Great Neck ($3,940); Hempstead ($7,282); Hicksville ($4,609); Locust Valley ($9,040); Massapequa ($63,732); Seaford ($3,798); Merrick ($104,121); Nassau Library System ($201,416); Hillside in New Hyde Park ($7,119); Plainedge in North Massapequa ($33,335); Plainview ($22,600); Port Washington ($2,500); Lakeview in Rockville Centre ($20,672); Rockville Centre ($113,000); Bryant in Roslyn ($4,503); Syosset ($9,278); West Hempstead ($15,255); and Williston Park ($14,125). In Suffolk: Bay Shore ($87,000); Brentwood ($81,000); Brookhaven ($31,000); Copiague ($7,100); Cutchogue ($71,089); Half Hollow Hills ($11,000); Hampton Bays ($17,000); Islip ($11,000); Mattituck ($44,000); North Babylon ($7,100); Northport ($11,000); Patchogue-Medford ($125,000); Suffolk Cooperative Library System ($243,478); West Babylon ($17,000); and Wyandanch ($108,000). (Newsday) 

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Olean Public Library Olean
P
05/06/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters in the Olean City School District accepted the Olean Public Library funding proposition in a 115-39 vote last week. The decision authorizes a $26,627 increase in appropriations from the Olean City School District to support the library's 2008 budget of $932,291. For the past 12 years, the school district has provided the library's funding through a tax levy, supplementing grants and other revenues to support the library programs. The increase will bring City of Olean residents' tax rate to $20.37, for an increase of about 61 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The tax increase for Town of Olean residents will be about 3 cents per $1,000. Voters also selected three trustees: Lana Waterman and incumbent Darcy Branch for five-year terms and incumbent Ed Wagner for a four-year term. (The Buffalo News)  

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Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn
P
04/26/2007
Negative Impact: A report in Crain's New York Business suggests that the Brooklyn Public Library's (BPL) Enrique Norten-designed Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) library, planned since 2002, is on the rocks due to cost increases. The library, aimed to be part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Cultural District, was announced as a $75 million project during the administration of director Martín Gómez, with an opening expected this year. Now, two directors later, with BPL in the midst of a project for a new auditorium at the Central Library, the price tag for the VPA has gone up to $135 million. "Each year the costs to build it increase, and it's out of our reach," an "insider" told Crain's. Asked for comment, BPL spokeswoman Stefanie Arck told LJ, "BPL's goal is to deliver free resources and programs to all Brooklynites, and the VPA would allow us to meet that objective via bringing existing and new services…. Since Dionne Mack-Harvin was appointed to her post of executive director just a month ago, she's looking at re-prioritizing projects for the system, including the VPA. So, while at this time we do not have the funds needed to build the VPA as designed, we are still evaluating options for raising the necessary money, including seeking partners to assist in financing." (Library Journal)  

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Buffalo
P
04/17/2007
Negative Impact: The Village Board held a public hearing Monday night on a $2.88 million tentative budget for 2006-07 that proposes a 5 percent tax increase. Under the tentative budget, taxes would rise from the current rate of $5.95 to $6.27 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Not in the proposed budget is the $45,000 that Lewiston Librarian Ronald Shaw had requested. The Lewiston Library is totally funded by the Town of Lewiston at $350,000, up 5 percent from this year. But the lack of village funding has been a sticking point for some years, since the town funding is "outside the village funds," which do not include village taxpayers. "I have to be grateful for what I get. I hope I can prove our worth and eventually receive more. But I look at libraries like Medina and Batavia, which have similar-sized populations, and they have budgets of over $500,000," Shaw told The Buffalo News after the hearing. Shaw said they have been able to add more library hours by changing to more-flexible part-time hours (without benefits) due to a recent retirement. "I'd fight like heck not to lose these hours, but now patrons are asking for longer [library] hours on Thursday nights and Saturdays, but there's just no way," said Shaw. Mayor Richard F. Soluri said during the hearing that while the village would not fund the library, it could sponsor some type of library project. Trustee Kenneth J. Kenney disagreed, saying, "I'm all for giving the library something. People in the village should come up with something." Then addressing Shaw, he added, "Let's keep our fingers crossed, there still could be something there." The board held off on adopting the budget and scheduled a follow-up budget meeting for April 24. Soluri said the budget hike was due to medical costs, workers' compensation, fuel and gas costs, as well as a 4.1 percent union increase, which also extended to non-union employees. "The mayor and the trustees are not taking increases and are probably among the lowest-paid government officials," said Soluri, who receives a stipend of $8,000 per year as mayor, and trustees, who receive $4,709 each. In another matter, the board approved a $196,000 grant-funded project to move the historic Piper Law Office, also known as the "Little Blue House." Kenney rejected the project saying it was "a lot of money to move a house." Village Engineer Michael Merino said the state Department of Transportation Enhancement Program will fund 80 percent of the project, and the village must provide in-kind services. He said the $196,000 includes moving the house, running sewer and water lines and beautification. "The next step will be to tell the DOT we want to go forward with this and agree to these numbers. The design work can start in June and we should be able to move the building in late summer or early September," said Merino. Soluri said the house on Center Street, near Ninth Street, will be moved across the street and then will become a tourist welcome center. He said they need to move the house so the owner of the land, Emory Simon, can begin to develop the land. Simon donated the house to the village after his requests to tear down the historic home were rejected. (Buffalo News)  

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The New Rochelle Public Library New Rochelle
P
04/09/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The New Rochelle Public Library would open Sundays throughout the entire school year - an increase of 16 weekends - under a proposed $3.8 million 2007-08 budget. Currently, the library remains open four hours on Sundays only half the year, from mid-October through about mid-April, and opens six days per week the rest of the year, said director Thomas Geoffino. With the new plan, the Sunday openings, from 1 to 5 p.m., would begin in early September and continue through mid-June, he said. The additional Sunday hours would cost some $23,000 and would be covered by offering existing employees overtime pay or double time off as compensation, Geoffino said. One goal is to offer students more hours to research topics for their classes, he said. "Families are extraordinarily busy, and sometimes you don't get a chance to get to the library at night," he said. Shani Romney, who was browsing in the library Friday, said she would come more often with her two young children if it were open more Sundays. She said she would come Sundays after finishing her early morning shift as a phone operator. "My son loves the computers over there," she added, nodding toward the children's area. Morton Siegel, 74, a science fiction and history buff, goes to the library two or three times a month, generally on weekends when he's not at his job as a financial securities analyst. "I'm all for encouraging people to read," the New Rochelle resident said, adding: "One time I came here on a Sunday and it was closed, and that was annoying." While spending on salaries and other items would increase under the budget, the tax rate would decrease slightly - by some $3.40 for the average home - because the taxes were increased for the current year to pay $327,300 for two new boilers, a one-time cost, Geoffino said. The budget was adopted by the Library Board with a 3-2 vote last month and will face a public vote on May 15 along with the city school district's $211 million proposed budget. Voters will also elect three school board members and a library board member to replace Leslie Demus, the current president, who is stepping down after 10 years on the board. At least one resident, public relations consultant Haina Just-Michael, is running for the office. Library trustees Frank Pasquale and Michael Schiffres voted against the library budget, arguing that more money could have been saved. "I would have liked to do more with less, if that was possible," Schiffres said. Aside from the boiler expense, the amount of taxpayer money needed to cover salary increases and other costs would increase 7.6 percent. The tax rate would be $12.08 per $1,000 of assessed value, a decrease from $12.27 per $1,000 this year. The bill would be $217.48 for a home assessed at the city's average of $18,000. The current bill for such a home is $220.86 per $1,000. The plan also includes money to buy more best-sellers, DVDs and other items patrons have been asking for, Geoffino said. "So we wouldn't slip further behind, we had to add a little more money there," said Board member Thomas Leghorn. Leghorn and board member Lianne Merchant were absent when the budget was adopted, but both said in interviews that they supported the spending plan. A public hearing on the budget will be held 7:30 p.m. May 8 in the library. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
NY
P
04/07/2007
Negative Impact: Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn called yesterday for increased library hours and money for new education initiatives and health clinics for underserved areas. Those changes are included in a proposal that would add $61 million to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's $57.1 billion preliminary budget for next year. Ms. Quinn urged the changes in a 45-minute speech in a packed room at Chatham Square Library in Chinatown, where she continued to position herself as an ally of the middle class as she prepares for a widely anticipated but as yet unannounced run for mayor in 2009. Her budget proposal fleshed out many of the initiatives she outlined in her State of the City speech in February. Among them is a $300 tax credit for renters for families of four making less than $75,000 and individuals making less than $43,000. The program is expected to benefit about 1.1 million New Yorkers. Another initiative would lift the income cap for people qualifying for first-time home buyer's assistance, to $92,170 a year from about $56,720 for a family of four. She also proposed injecting $50 million over two years to help people buy and rehabilitate the decaying stock of homes being auctioned off by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The financing would be dependent on the buyer agreeing to keep the housing available to low- and middle-income buyers. Her plan would also expand prekindergarten slots by 2,100 full-time seats, and create 96 slots to hire specialists to help parents wade through the complicated choices as their children move from prekindergarten to kindergarten, elementary to middle school and middle school to high school. The Council's budget response is aimed at influencing the mayor to incorporate its suggestions in his executive budget, which he is required to produce by early May. The Council and the mayor then negotiate a final budget to be adopted in June for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Ms. Quinn highlighted the Council's proposal to have all public libraries return to being open at least six days a week, a service that was lost in cuts after 9/11. To do that, the Council would inject $42.7 million into the budget over three years. The plan also calls for 10 new health care clinics in communities with the most severe health care shortages, at a cost of $10 million over the next five years and $17 million in capital expenses over four years. Among the few signs of discord between the mayor's budget plan and the Council's was a call by the Council to redirect $12 million it says is allocated to the Department of Education's Panel for Education Policy. The 13-member, unpaid advisory body was created by Mr. Bloomberg in his first administration to replace the Board of Education. Critics say it has become a powerless entity completely controlled by the mayor, who once fired two members who disagreed with him on a policy matter. ''It's not quite the educational powerhouse we thought it would be when it was first created,'' Ms. Quinn said. ''We'd like to redirect that money to the classroom.'' It was a rare jab at the mayor by the speaker, who has worked largely in concert with Mr. Bloomberg as she considers her own future as a mayoral contender. The mayor's aides said yesterday that no such money was earmarked for the panel, which receives only about $7,200 total in annual stipends plus miscellaneous expenses. As for the rest of the Council's budget proposal, Mr. Bloomberg said he would have to evaluate it but was glad to see that it included some money-saving ideas. To finance the budget plan, the Council included $243 million in agency cuts and savings and estimated tax revenues that would exceed the mayor's projections by $619 million based on a strong real estate market that continues to defy national trends. Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, which promotes transparency in government, said the budget proposal given by Ms. Quinn showed fiscal restraint and appeared to be largely in line with the mayor's own budget priorities. ''What is remarkable is not just the substance but the way in which the response is being presented,'' Mr. Dadey said. ''It's collaborative and tries to avoid conflict with the mayor, which is a break from past responses to the budget.'' (New York Times)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
03/31/2007
Negative Impact: Here's one local battle in the war over property taxes that has turned internecine: On Nov. 7, along with others in the state who were deciding how to fill such offices as governor and congressman, voters in Philipstown had an extra choice: whether to increase the operating budget of their Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library by $151,000 to $276,000. By a 1,086-973 tally, voters said "Yes." The Butterfield library gets the extra money this year, right? Nope. Town officials have decided that it's too much. Through the budget for the town, which collects taxes and distributes revenue, they're only going to give the library $125,000 this year, the same amount allotted the library the past two years. {}Officials know best The reason Philipstown officials give for the churlishness? Voters were "bamboozled" into voting for the increase - which, by the way, the officials say, is too much. Never mind that almost 53 percent of the November voters thought otherwise. (Note to library staff: Need to beef up the "government" section, particularly the part on democracy . . . one person-one vote . . . majority wins, etc.) Yet town officials contend that the vote was flawed due to poor voter notification. Town Supervisor William Mazzuca told staff writer Barbara Livingston Nackman for a story last week that there had not been enough public information about the library budget or election announcements related to the vote. Library officials counter that they provided information to the public through e-mails, mailings and on the library Web site. Putnam County Election Commissioner Robert Bennett, who has conceded that there were some problems with some of the legal notices related to the vote, nevertheless said the library referendum was legal and so was the vote. "They have no right to throw out the results of an election," Bennett said, noting that the Town Board itself reviewed the resolution, the vote was held, and the county Board of Elections certified the results before its Dec. 2 deadline. It was the library's first vote under a 1995 state law that allows public libraries to seek funding increases by referendum. Future increases can only be sought by a public vote. {}Legal ruling sought It shouldn't have come to this, but on March 19, the library's board asked a state Supreme Court justice to direct the Town Board to release the voter-approved funding. Butterfield is the smallest library in Putnam, founded in 1927 by the estate of local philanthropist Julia L. Butterfield, whose money also funded the now-shuttered Butterfield Hospital in Cold Spring. Usage at the library has quadrupled in the last five years, from nearly 2,900 in 2000 to 7,800 in 2006. Over the same period, cardholders have increased from 2,583 to 4,052, and items circulated are up from 8,024 to 38,000. But what could all those users know? "It is not that the town doesn't want to work with the library," Mazzuca told Nackman. "But an increase like they've asked for is unconscionable, unreasonable. I have a right, an obligation, to the people of the town who feel like they have been bamboozled in the election." In addition to voting for congressional, state and county officials on Nov. 7, voters in three Westchester and two Putnam communities supported library budgets, a new library and an open-space proposition, Philipstown voters included. Library officials estimated that the increase requested of voters would cost roughly 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, translating into a $16 annual increase for the average property owner - from the current average of $13 to $29. Here's hoping that the court sets matters and the officials straight, and quickly - so voters don't have to clarify matters further, on another Election Day. (The Journal News)  

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Morton Memorial Library Rhinecliff
P
03/29/2007
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Fundraising Results: The Morton Memorial Library in Rhinecliff is a few steps closer to a more than $100,000 renovation thanks to a $37,600 state grant. State Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, announced last week the library received the funding from a $14 million capital fund for library projects, created in the state's 2006-07 budget. Library officials also anticipate $96,000 in federal community block grant funding. With several projects on tap, including the reconstruction of the building's historic stone walls and the addition of a handicapped accessible entrance, the money comes to library officials at an important time. "We are reaching out to various funding sources and we're also organizing a few fundraising activities," library Director Joanne Meyer said. "We always rely on our homegrown donors for materials and funds. People have really grown to appreciate our beautiful, historic building and they want to see it last forever." The Morton Memorial Library and Community House was donated to the hamlet by Levi P. Morton in 1908. Morton, who lived in Rhinecliff, served as ambassador to France from 1881-85 and was elected vice president with Benjamin Harrison at the top of the ticket in 1888. He served as governor of New York from 1895-97. {}Signs of age Because of its age, the library has needed various repairs over the years, including a $20,000 furnace and a $60,000 roof replacement project. The library hopes to bid out the wall restoration and handicapped entrance ramp projects - projected to cost in excess of $100,000 - soon so work can begin in the summer. Library officials also want to renovate the library's recreation room. "Basically, we're just going project to project," library board President Richard Kopyscianski said. "Right now, we're not sure how much the projects are going to cost. We won't know that until we get the bids out." (Poughkeepsie Journal)  

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Westerchester County
P
03/28/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Sloatsburg and Suffern residents approved the budgets of their local libraries yesterday. The two budgets had one vote, with a tally of 368 to 80, Ruth Bolin, director of the Suffern Library, said last night. Both libraries sought a 3 percent increase in operating funds, which was $72,889 for Suffern and $9,047 for Sloatsburg. That would bring the total Sloatsburg Library budget to $364,412 and the Suffern Library budget to $2,763,939. "It's pretty much a hold-the-line budget," Bolin said. The libraries estimated an increase in taxes of between $6 and $12 for the year. Bolin and Sloatsburg Library Director Mary Blake both attributed part of the spending increases to the purchases of more DVDs and books-on-tape. Bolin added that Suffern was spending more on library programs and technology updates. "We've been in this building for seven years, so some of our equipment is beginning to wear out," she said. Raquel Romero of Suffern was at the library to return a tai chi DVD. She said she had no idea the budget was up for a vote but added that she wholeheartedly approved it. "I love it," she said of the library, "I love the movies, the exercise CDs and video ... I love to read." Romero voted in support of the budget before leaving the library. Margaret O'Connor, also of Suffern, was leaving the library with a stack of mystery novels in her arms. She said she was not in favor of the library's budget, but voted to approve it anyway. O'Connor said the library budget was an added tax burden among many others. "Town, village, school and library," she said of all the taxes she and her husband pay. "You name it, I got it." Still, she voted yes because of the service the library provided, she said. In Sloatsburg, Rosina Nattini and her sister, Mary, both of Eagle Ridge Road, also voted to approve their library's budget. "Definitely," Rosina Nattini said. "The library in Sloatsburg does very good for the community." (The Journal News)(  

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Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library Westerchester County
P
03/23/2007
Negative Impact: In what may be a first for the region, Philipstown officials are refusing to abide by the results of a public referendum, balking at sending $276,000 to the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library for 2007. Instead, the town has budgeted $125,000 for the library, the same amount it has been allotted for the past two years. Gillian Thorpe, the library's director since 2000, said she was shocked in January when she was notified that the library had a funding problem. This week, the library filed paperwork in state Supreme Court asking a judge to direct the Town Board to give the library the funding approved by voters. "I am disappointed not just for the library and its patrons but for all the taxpayers who approved the vote," she said. The Nov. 7 vote was 1,086 to 973 in favor of increasing the library's annual spending by $151,000. "How many other things are they intending to override," Thorpe added, "and what right do they have to do this?" The library board says the increased budget is needed for services such as story time and expanded hours and to provide the community with what it expects from its public library. "We truly would not have chosen this way to go. We feel we have to uphold the vote," said library board President Judy Meyers, referring to the court filing. On the board for 30 years, she has been its president for five. She has been a teacher for 45 years and works in the Haldane school district. The Philipstown Town Board contends the vote was flawed because of poor voter notification. It has hired a $125-an-hour lawyer to consider its options. "It is not that the town doesn't want to work with the library," Town Supervisor William Mazzuca said. "But an increase like they've asked for is unconscionable, unreasonable. I have a right, an obligation, to the people of the town who feel like they have been bamboozled in the election." Mazzuca said there were not enough election announcements or public information about the library budget. He also criticized the Friends of the Library group for sending out appeals to garner support for the proposition. Library officials, however, said they provided information to the public through e-mails, mailings and on the library Web site. Kara Bickham, a mother of three, ages 8, 6 and 5, said the Town Board's decision seems "terribly unfair." "I just cannot believe this is kosher. Someone has to explain this," said Bickham, a physician. "I voted for it. It seemed like it was something secure." Describing herself as a frequent library user, she said she takes her children to story programs and takes books and materials home for herself. "It is a great resource, a cozy little place," she said. The Butterfield library is set back from the street at 10 Morris Ave. in Cold Spring, just off Main Street and a short walk from Haldane schools. Putnam County Election Commissioner Robert Bennett said he was surprised officials were taking exception to a vote that took place almost four months ago. "They have no right to throw out the results of an election," he said. The Town Board reviewed the resolution, the vote was held, and the Board of Elections certified the results before the Dec. 2 deadline, he said. The town would have to fight the election in court, said Josh Cohen, executive director of the Mid-Hudson Library System, a five-county cooperative of 68 libraries, including those in Putnam. "The town could go to court, but I can't imagine on what grounds," he said. "This is clearly the reason that libraries want to put their budgets out to a public vote and secure reliable local funding." Cohen said Mid-Hudson has offered advice to Butterfield and could provide financial help for a legal battle. Town resident Donna Cotennec said the Town Board was setting a poor example to library users, especially young people. "I have an 18-year-old daughter who recently registered to vote," she said. "How do I explain to her that something like this can happen after she votes in good faith - that a publicly elected official can overturn the results of an uncontested election even though the Board of Elections upheld it?" The election, she added, was well publicized. Butterfield petitioned the town for its first vote under a 1995 state law that allows public libraries to seek funding increases by referendum. As an association library, Butterfield is required to hold the vote during the general election. Once the public approves a budget, a new vote is required only if the library seeks an increase the following year. Butterfield, the smallest library in Putnam County, was founded in 1927 by the estate of local philanthropist Julia L. Butterfield, whose money also funded Butterfield Hospital in Cold Spring. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Albany
P
03/15/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters in Albany Feb. 6 approved a referendum that commits $29.1 million to overhaul five neighborhood library branches, involving two new branches and three renovations. (Library Journal) 

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Buffalo and Erie County library system Buffalo and Erie County
P
03/04/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Assets of the Library Foundation of Buffalo & Erie County are now being managed by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a change library leaders say will strengthen the countywide library system. The transfer of an underperforming $1.53 million endowment to the investment-savvy Community Foundation followed a lengthy, sometimes harsh debate between the Library Foundation and the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board. The discussion ended "in harmony" once library board members were convinced of the likely long-term benefits to the system, said Anne M. Leary, former Library Foundation executive director. The partnership with the Community Foundation will "benefit the entire system and enable us to better serve those who utilize our many facilities," said Wayne D. Wisbaum, vice chairman of the Library Foundation board and also a member of the library board. The Library Foundation turned to the Community Foundation for its "combination of expertise, integrity, investment oversight and cost-effective administrative services," Wisbaum said. The Library Foundation formed in 1991 to develop and augment programs and services for city and county library branches. But right off there was disagreement over how money raised by the nonprofit foundation should be spent. Library managers advocated things like hands-on educational programs for children, while the foundation focused on rare books and other collections. The feud boiled over a year ago, when library administrators, who had been forced to close 16 branches and trim hours and circulation because of county funding cuts, complained that the system had received no proceeds from Library Foundation investments or fund-raising campaigns in recent years. As a consequence, the library board started its own development office. At the same time, some Library Foundation trustees were growing impatient with the slow growth of the endowment, established in 1991 with $1 million from the former Grosvenor Library Endowment and other funds. The complex asset transfer began in early 2006 under Victor Rice, Library Foundation chairman, and Gail Johnstone, Community Foundation president and CEO. The move will allow Library Foundation trustees and volunteers "to focus their energies on seeking new contributions and making grants" while the endowment is shepherded by the Community Foundation, an 88-year-old public charity that holds more than 600 separate charitable funds, the foundations said in a joint statement. In conjunction with the transfer, the Library Foundation is instituting a grant process that will allow all libraries in the countywide system to apply for funding. A percentage of available funds will be set aside for branch projects. Also, the Library Foundation has moved from the Central Library to 712 Main St., where the Community Foundation offices are located. Individuals and organizations may send contributions to the Library Foundation Fund of Buffalo & Erie County in care of the Community Foundation, 712 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202. (The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Central Library of Rochester Monroe County
P
02/22/2007
Negative Impact: Monroe County officials are threatening to pull funding for the Central Library of Rochester over a policy that lets patrons view blocked Web sites that could be inappropriate or pornographic. The flap may inflame a national debate over First Amendment rights and access to Web sites at libraries, a battle that pits public access to information against the potential exposure of unsuitable material. In a strongly worded letter to Paula Smith, director of the county library system, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said she was "stunned" and "mortified" that the library would allow people, upon request, to obtain access to pornographic sites. Brooks is threatening to halt about $7.5 million in county funding for the downtown library if it doesn't tighten restrictions. The loss of the money, about 70 percent of the library's budget, would essentially put the library out of business and cripple the library system in Monroe County. As a result, library officials hastily decided to temporarily block all access to Web sites that were deemed inappropriate and were scrambling Wednesday to call a meeting of the board of trustees to decide what to do permanently. Library officials declined comment and referred calls to the city, which owns the library and helps fund it. "Given the fiscal constraints, we need to react and respond to the letter from Maggie Brooks," said George Wolf, a board member. In its policies, the library says it seeks to comply with federal laws that oversee the use of the Internet at libraries and schools. In 2000, the federal government passed the Children's Internet Protection Act, which says libraries that accept revenue from a federal tax on telecommunications services must filter Web access to block sites with obscenities and child pornography. The law was upheld after a challenge by the American Library Association, but with a caveat from the U.S. Supreme Court: Adults could have access to material that is not illegal, and the libraries couldn't ask why a person wanted a site unblocked. That law seems consistent with the Central Library's policy, which says "adult patrons, age 17 and above, may request that Web sites that have been blocked by filtering software be unblocked. The library will not inquire into the patron's reason for making such a request." The library, though, has taken safety steps: Patrons viewing unblocked Web sites are required to put tinted privacy screens on their monitors, and the library prohibits access to those sites on the main floor and parts of the second floor — areas with the most traffic and with children's sections nearby. Still, Brooks said the steps weren't enough after WHEC-TV (Channel 10) this week used hidden cameras to show people using the library's computers and viewing pornography within plain sight of passers-by, potentially children. "As a mother I was horrified to see our community's children put in a position of being exposed to matters beyond their comprehension in some cases, in a place designed for learning," Brooks said. What complicates the debate is that every town library, each with its own board, may handle Internet access differently. While Monroe County libraries use the same Internet filtering system, each library has the discretion over what to block. For example, some have chosen to block Internet chats or the popular site myspace.com. But unlike the Central Library, some libraries don't unblock Web sites at adults' request. Library directors in Greece, Webster and Fairport said Wednesday they feared that unblocking inappropriate Web sites could offend other visitors and expose children to unsuitable images — especially in smaller libraries where computers are often in plain view. "There's no way we can allow that in the library," said Betsy Gilbert, director of the Fairport Public Library. Some librarians said they would only unblock sites if it was obvious that a site was blocked in error. But the American Library Association argues that libraries making arbitrary decisions over what to block could infringe on First Amendment protections. The group, the country's largest library association, has argued that it would be wrong for libraries to block access to constitutionally protected information, and the American Civil Liberties Union has sued libraries that have blocked access. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the association's deputy director for intellectual freedom, wondered whether the {dcidc}Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, for example, should be barred. "It becomes a very problematic issue," she said, "for a library to put their staff in the place of arbitrating what is good and bad content, what you can and can't watch." Some visitors to the Central Library on Wednesday questioned why a person should be able to view porn sites in public. "I don't believe it should be in a public place," said Rush James, 54, of Rochester. "What you do in the privacy of your own home is your business." Rachel Santiago, 23, of Rochester said she couldn't understand why someone would need access to pornographic sites at the library. Such Internet use is "inappropriate for a public place like a library when you have kids around," she said. JSPECTOR@DemocratandChronicle.com What's at stake Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks is threatening to pull $7.5 million from the Central Library of Rochester if it doesn't put tighter restrictions on Internet access. Library policies Each library in Monroe County has its own set of policies regarding Internet access and each library has a filtering system to block inappropriate sites. Here's a sampling of what some local libraries do: *Central Library of Rochester: Web sites blocked by filtering software may be unblocked at the request of an adult. A privacy screen is put on the monitor, and places where people can view unblocked sites is limited. *Webster: Unless filtered incorrectly, a Web site will not be unblocked. Also bans instant messaging chats online. *Gates: May lift a block at librarian's discretion, but displaying inappropriate pictures is not allowed. First offense is a warning, second results in a temporary ban from library. *Irondequoit: Uses filters for pornography; also filters Internet chats and myspace.com. Doesn't unblock any. *Greece: Patrons log on to computers using library card codes. Parents provide Internet permission for children under 16. Web sites are not unblocked. *Fairport: Doesn't unblock Web sites, requires library card for Internet access. (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens library Queens
P
02/13/2007
Negative Impact: Crowds start forming outside the Rego Park branch of the Queens Library well before its 1 p.m. opening Mondays. One by one, patrons approach the entrance to peer through the window or tug on the locked door before taking their place at the back of a growing line. On busy days, the line stretches 40 patrons long, winding its way around the corner of 63rd Avenue and down Austin Street, according to Rego Park resident Luis Aldas, who visits the branch several times a week to study economics. “Today, it’s not so bad, because it’s so cold out,” he said Monday afternoon. “There is usually twice this many people.” When the doors finally open, customers rush inside to be first at the reference desk. Others snag one of 13 coveted computer stations, while still more seek out one of several librarians scrambling to keep up. “We aren’t open Sundays, so the library gets hit hard at the beginning of the week,” explained librarian Kristin Kuehl at 1:02 p.m., while rushing to fix a broken copier for a bewildered patron. “Everyone wants to check their e mail or ask a question all at once, so things get busy fast.” The Monday rush is not unique to the Rego Park branch — nor is it unique to Monday, library officials say. Every day of the work week, similar scenes play out at dozens of other branches — all of them swamped with rising demand for services, but stymied by perennial shortfalls in books, librarians and operating hours. Today, only a few of the Queens Library system’s 63 branches are open a full day, with most operating five to eight hours at a time to match the out of school schedules of students. Only 23 branches in the system are open Saturdays, and three are open every day. Shorter hours have meant not only heavier strains on library staff, but dwindling access to one of the community’s most vital resources, said Councilman Leroy Comrie (D St. Albans), a leading advocate in securing funding for the Queens Library. “Our libraries are always filled to capacity,” he said. “So the question becomes, how can you keep a library open for only part of the week when Queens doesn’t have enough after school programs, when there are 104 languages spoken, but not enough English classes for immigrants, when seniors no longer have a regular place to spend the day?” Access wasn’t always such a problem, said Queens Library Director Thomas Galante. Five years ago, every location operated on Saturday, and the busiest branches remained open seven days a week. But like many other public services, libraries were hit hard by the economic recession that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In 2002, the city slashed roughly $11 million from the Queens Library’s budget. Every year since, Bloomberg has proposed further cuts, including one of $11 million last year. The first to feel the shortage was the staff. By 2003, the library had lost roughly 200 employees out of more than 1,100, or roughly one in five, through attrition. The cuts also stalled efforts to update the collection of more than 8 million books, periodicals and databases. In 2005, for instance, the library bought more than 880,000 new books — a figure Galante said “sounds impressive,” but actually marks a decline of 40,000 items from a decade ago. Such declines have coincided with a rise in demand. The library system has seen a 19 percent jump in borrowing in the last seven years, despite suffering a 54 percent drop in city funding for library materials over the same period. In what advocates called a promising step, the mayor and City Council restored roughly $11 million — over half the total cuts — to the Queens Library budget last year, then baselined that amount for future years. The move meant that funding would not drop below a certain level. But community groups say the mayor has again shortchanged libraries by not allocating a dime of extra funding in his budget for next year, even with an unexpected $3.9 billion surplus announced last month. Comrie said legislators will have to haggle with the Mayor’s Office for more money before approving a final budget in June. In the meantime, patrons will have to keep lining up for service. “It’s a very sad situation when (the mayor) has more than enough money for expansions, but doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it,” said Patricia Dolan, president of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association. “When library services are more important than ever for people in Queens, this kind of thing doesn’t make sense. (Queens Chronicle) 

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Albany
P
02/07/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: City residents decisively passed two referendums Tuesday that committed $50 million to overhaul five neighborhood library branches and complete renovations to three elementary schools. The affirmative vote on the dual propositions came despite bitter cold and a noon opening of polls, later than the usual morning opening. Both factors contributed to a low turnout. The 2-1 final vote on the $19 million schools renovation, Proposition No. 1, which would not add to a resident's tax burden, was 3,500 to 1,449. The tally was 3,277 in favor -- with 1,683 against -- on Proposition No. 2, a $29.1 million initiative to build, relocate or renovate five library branches that would add about $47 in new taxes to the owner of a home worth $100,000. "The libraries are very important to the vitality of the city," said Carol Washington, who voted yes on both propositions. "We also need to complete the process of renovating our schools." She lives in the Pine Hills neighborhood and voted at Pine Hills Elementary School, the former School 16 on North Allen Street. It reopened last month after being renovated as part of the district's multiyear $185.2 million project. Directly behind the brand-new school, the Pine Hills library branch will now get a $4.8 million facelift, doubling its size by taking over the second floor of the building that houses it. "We need better facilities to present a better image for the city," said Connie Kirkpatrick, who perused a cookbook on Southern cuisine in the Pine Hills branch before walking over to vote yes on both propositions. Kirkpatrick moved to the neighborhood six months ago from Atlanta to be closer to her children. "The libraries there were much newer and better," she said, also recalling three great libraries that were within walking distance of her home in Brooklyn while growing up. The schools referendum pooled state aid with funds remaining from the existing facilities project and will be spent on renovations to Arbor Hill, Giffen and the TOAST elementary schools. Mayor Jerry Jennings publicly urged a yes vote on both referendums, but with qualifications. "I'm glad that the library stepped back from the original plan to invest over $35 million on one main library in the armory," Jennings said, referring to the Washington Avenue Armory that was subsequently renovated into a venue for sports events and concerts. "Library branches are very important for the health of the city, and I'm glad they're working with us." The library plan calls to spend $5.7 million on a new building at Henry Johnson Boulevard and First Street in the West Hill and Arbor Hill neighborhoods; $4.7 million to renovate the Delaware Avenue branch at 331 Delaware Ave.; $5.2 million to renovate and build a new addition to the Howe branch in the South End; $4 million to build a new New Scotland branch next to the firehouse on New Scotland Avenue and remove it from School 19; $4.8 million to renovate and expand the Pine Hills branch. "We were able to get our message to the public about the need to replace outdated facilities and the public had its voice heard," said library director Jeffrey Cannell. On the schools referendum, however, Jennings would have preferred to hold off on the new work while the impact of additional charter schools and his proposal to study dropping middle schools in favor of pre-K to eighth grade could be assessed. "The school district has to work with the city as the library did, and they need to realize we're all partners in this," Jennings said. "There's mixed research on middle schools right now, but the public supported our middle school plan in 2001 and we're staying very focused on building strong middle schools," said Eva Joseph, the city school district superintendent. Phil DiNovo, a retired college business professor, voted in favor of both referendums at Pine Hills Elementary School. "Taxes are already very high and I don't like to see them increase, but I've got to balance it with my concerns about more people moving out to the suburbs," said DiNovo, who moved back to the upper Washington Avenue neighborhood seven years after retiring as a professor at the State University College at Morrisville. He had lived in Morrisville, watched Albany's population decline in the 35 years he was gone and hoped improvements to the schools and libraries would help stem urban flight. City Councilman Dan Herring, who represents Ward 13, voted in favor of both referendums at Pine Hills Elementary School. "I understand people complaining about getting hit with tax increases, but a cost-benefit analysis shows that upgraded library branches are a component of a vibrant city," said Herring, whose ward includes the Pine Hills branch, which has seen substantial increases in visitors and materials circulated in recent years. "The bottom line is that the increase in taxes for the library is the price of a few hardcover books a year," said Dennis Gaffney, a freelance writer, who walks to the New Scotland Avenue branch with his daughter, Sophia, 6. He was active in a citizens committee lobbying for passage of the library referendum. "This is a tax that's going to improve the quality of life in Albany," Gaffney said. "We see it as an investment in our future." (Times Union) 

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Albany
P
02/07/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: -- City residents decisively passed two referendums Tuesday that committed $50 million to overhaul five neighborhood library branches and complete renovations to three elementary schools. The affirmative vote on the dual propositions came despite bitter cold and a noon opening of polls, later than the usual morning opening. Both factors contributed to a low turnout. The 2-1 final vote on the $19 million schools renovation, Proposition No. 1, which would not add to a resident's tax burden, was 3,500 to 1,449. The tally was 3,277 in favor -- with 1,683 against -- on Proposition No. 2, a $29.1 million initiative to build, relocate or renovate five library branches that would add about $47 in new taxes to the owner of a home worth $100,000. "The libraries are very important to the vitality of the city," said Carol Washington, who voted yes on both propositions. "We also need to complete the process of renovating our schools." She lives in the Pine Hills neighborhood and voted at Pine Hills Elementary School, the former School 16 on North Allen Street. It reopened last month after being renovated as part of the district's multiyear $185.2 million project. Directly behind the brand-new school, the Pine Hills library branch will now get a $4.8 million facelift, doubling its size by taking over the second floor of the building that houses it. "We need better facilities to present a better image for the city," said Connie Kirkpatrick, who perused a cookbook on Southern cuisine in the Pine Hills branch before walking over to vote yes on both propositions. Kirkpatrick moved to the neighborhood six months ago from Atlanta to be closer to her children. "The libraries there were much newer and better," she said, also recalling three great libraries that were within walking distance of her home in Brooklyn while growing up. The schools referendum pooled state aid with funds remaining from the existing facilities project and will be spent on renovations to Arbor Hill, Giffen and the TOAST elementary schools. Mayor Jerry Jennings publicly urged a yes vote on both referendums, but with qualifications. "I'm glad that the library stepped back from the original plan to invest over $35 million on one main library in the armory," Jennings said, referring to the Washington Avenue Armory that was subsequently renovated into a venue for sports events and concerts. "Library branches are very important for the health of the city, and I'm glad they're working with us." The library plan calls to spend $5.7 million on a new building at Henry Johnson Boulevard and First Street in the West Hill and Arbor Hill neighborhoods; $4.7 million to renovate the Delaware Avenue branch at 331 Delaware Ave.; $5.2 million to renovate and build a new addition to the Howe branch in the South End; $4 million to build a new New Scotland branch next to the firehouse on New Scotland Avenue and remove it from School 19; $4.8 million to renovate and expand the Pine Hills branch. "We were able to get our message to the public about the need to replace outdated facilities and the public had its voice heard," said library director Jeffrey Cannell. On the schools referendum, however, Jennings would have preferred to hold off on the new work while the impact of additional charter schools and his proposal to study dropping middle schools in favor of pre-K to eighth grade could be assessed. "The school district has to work with the city as the library did, and they need to realize we're all partners in this," Jennings said. "There's mixed research on middle schools right now, but the public supported our middle school plan in 2001 and we're staying very focused on building strong middle schools," said Eva Joseph, the city school district superintendent. Phil DiNovo, a retired college business professor, voted in favor of both referendums at Pine Hills Elementary School. "Taxes are already very high and I don't like to see them increase, but I've got to balance it with my concerns about more people moving out to the suburbs," said DiNovo, who moved back to the upper Washington Avenue neighborhood seven years after retiring as a professor at the State University College at Morrisville. He had lived in Morrisville, watched Albany's population decline in the 35 years he was gone and hoped improvements to the schools and libraries would help stem urban flight. City Councilman Dan Herring, who represents Ward 13, voted in favor of both referendums at Pine Hills Elementary School. "I understand people complaining about getting hit with tax increases, but a cost-benefit analysis shows that upgraded library branches are a component of a vibrant city," said Herring, whose ward includes the Pine Hills branch, which has seen substantial increases in visitors and materials circulated in recent years. "The bottom line is that the increase in taxes for the library is the price of a few hardcover books a year," said Dennis Gaffney, a freelance writer, who walks to the New Scotland Avenue branch with his daughter, Sophia, 6. He was active in a citizens committee lobbying for passage of the library referendum. "This is a tax that's going to improve the quality of life in Albany," Gaffney said. "We see it as an investment in our future." (Times Union) 

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Library Name City Type Date
01/27/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The New York Library Association is pleased to announce that three unions representing academic, public and school librarians have joined once again with NYLA this year to advocate for closing the gap in funding for libraries that serve our communities, college campuses and schools. The three unions are the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and District Council 37 (DC 37 - AFSCME) which represent thousands of library workers in our public, academic and school libraries across New York State. In 2006, the State Legislature heeded the calls of the library community and their supporters and took the first step toward closing the funding gap for libraries that was caused by eight years of flat funding eroded by inflation. Last year, the state finally funded libraries using the 2000 Census (instead of the 1990 Census) which provided an additional $2.7 million in operating aid to libraries across the state. These funds coupled with a $3 million one shot in funding for library systems and $14 million for public library construction was an acknowledgement that the library community had not received its fair share of the state budget in the past. "The Legislature should be commended for recognizing the importance of libraries in serving New Yorkers of all ages and we hope Governor Spitzer and the Legislature continue to invest in our state's information infrastructure," said Lillian Roberts, DC 37 Executive Director. This year, the New York Library Association is requesting a $27 million increase in state operating aid to libraries and library systems that builds upon the investments made in the 2006 State Budget; a continuation of the $14 million in state aid for library construction and renovation projects that will in part address the more than $1.7 billion in capital needs identified in a survey conducted by the New York State Library; $5 million for NOVEL (New York's Online Electronic Library) which allows the State Library to negotiate and purchase online databases for use by all types of libraries across the state at reduced costs to taxpayers and libraries; and an increase in Library Materials Aid from $6 per pupil to $15 per pupil so school libraries can purchase books and other library materials. "The Civil Service Employees Association supports closing the gap in funding for libraries and providing more operating aid directly to libraries so they can have the resources necessary to meet the growing needs of their communities," said Danny Donohue, CSEA President. Library Materials Aid, which is used by school districts to purchase books for their libraries has not been increased in eight years, meanwhile the cost of library materials has increased 30% to an average cost of $21 per book. The NYS Board of Regents has also recognized the need to increase Library Materials Aid and the impact that school libraries properly staffed and equipped can have on student academic achievement. "Numerous studies demonstrate the positive impact that school libraries staffed by certified librarians and equipped with current materials and technology have on student academic achievement. Now is the time for New York State to put research into practice by increasing state funding for school libraries," commented Alan Lubin, NYSUT Executive Vice President. In his State of the State address, Governor Spitzer commented on the need for students to have "access to state-of-the-art internet libraries", as well as funding Universal Pre-K and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision, which labeled libraries as "an essential instrumentality of learning". "The New York Library Association greatly appreciates the Governor's interest and support for libraries. We look forward to working with the Spitzer Administration in developing further the Governor's initiatives and with the Legislature in building upon the investments made last year in our state's information infrastructure," concluded Michael J. Borges, NYLA Executive Director. In the words of Walter Cronkite, "Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation."  

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Library Name City Type Date
01/26/2007
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Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: Libraries in New York's towns, cities, and schools are at a “breaking point” and need additional funding for various initiatives, advocates said Thursday. The New York Library Association is asking for a $27 million increase in operating aid to library systems, as well as $14 million for construction projects and $5 million for the state's online electronic library. “For far too long, libraries have gotten the short end of the stick,” said Steve Madarasz of the Civil Service Employees Association, a union that represents 5,000 library workers in New York. “This is a cost-effective investment in the future of our state.” The state spend about $92 million on libraries in the 2006-07 fiscal year, the first year that the funding formula used the 2000 Census and not the 1990 Census. This resulted in a $2.7 million increase in aid. Now they want the additional $27 million to make up for what they said has been eight years of flat funding. According to the Library Association, New Yorkers made 5 million more visits to libraries in 2005 than in 1998. In addition to operating aid, advocates want funding for school libraries to increase from $6 per pupil to $15. They said this would reflect the 30 percent increase in the cost of library materials over the past eight years. “Numerous studies demonstrate the positive impact that school libraries staffed by certified librarians and equipped with current materials and technology have on student achievement,” said Alan Lubin, vice president of New York State United Teachers, the state's largest teacher's union. “Now is the time for New York to put research into practice by increasing state funding to school libraries.” Many school and public libraries are in “disrepair,” said Michael Borges, the Library Association's director, evidenced by more than 200 construction aid applications totaling $95 million in 2006. But the applicants were vying for just $14 million in state funding, a figure that the association would like to see matched, if not increased, this year. The Library Association also wants $5 million for the state's electronic library, which allows libraries to purchase licenses for online databases. Borges said that libraries allow computer access to millions of New Yorkers, and need funding to keep up with technology, including high-speed Internet. The association Thursday also called for greater oversight of school libraries by the state Education Department, which staffs one person to track school spending on libraries. Christine Anderson, a spokeswoman for Gov. Eliot Spitzer, declined to comment on the proposals. She said all would be revealed in the executive budget, set to be released Jan. 31. (from Ithaca Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Albany Public Library Albany
P
01/11/2007
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Potential Fundraising Activities: The Albany Public Library, NY, has backed off a $65 million plan that emphasized main library improvements, but even the $29 million branch-centric revision has caused some controversy, with a local official criticizing the rationale for libraries and local citizens defending the library in return. The original plan was considered too costly; now the library would renovate its four branches and build a new one. The Albany-Times Union, which had expressed reservations about that original project, editorialized that "Albany residents should be encouraged by the library trustees' more practical vision for the city." For those with houses assessed at $150,000, library taxes would go up $50 a year, from $172 to $222. Citizens will vote on February 6. In a letter to the Times-Union, Democratic committeeman Albert Paolucci criticized the new tax burden and suggested that alternatives exist: "The $29.1 million is just another encumbrance that will not make the libraries more available and efficient. Not when you have bookstores where you can sit and review books at leisure. The State Library is another outlet for those who need information. Every school has a library; would a student venture beyond that school library to seek information or books to read? I do not believe so. Computers have taken the place of the libraries with more information than you will ever need in a lifetime." In response, Thomas Preston, executive director of the Poor Peoples Campaign, commented that bookstores don't accommodate groups of youth nor offer meeting space and research assistance. "As a regular library user, I can tell you that many young people venture out of their school libraries into the public libraries. Neither the State Library nor bookstores can meet the literary needs of the community at large," he wrote. In another letter responding to Paolucci, local resident Peter Christoph noted, that, "people want neighborhood libraries...so their children can walk there, and most neighborhoods do not have bookstores. Bookstores are not lending libraries; you can't borrow a book for two weeks and then take it back." (Library Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
State University of New York (SUNY)
a
01/10/2007
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Librarians in the State University of New York (SUNY) system have begun a campaign to win pay equity with classroom faculty on campuses throughout the state, unanimously passing a resolution and issuing a six-page report written by an ad hoc committee of the SUNY Librarians Association (SUNYLA). With the union representing librarians, United University Professions, gearing up for new contract negotiations, the resolution calls for "equality to be its goal, including equal contract year obligations, equal compensation, and the option of equal professorial titles." The resolution was passed on to SUNY chancellor John Ryan, who, while praising the efforts of SUNY librarians, said that the Taylor Law forbade him from commenting directly on the librarians' pitch outside of the official negotiating process. The report was shared with the LJ by Ron Foster, assistant librarian at the SUNY Institute of Technology (Utica, NY) who chaired the ad hoc committee that drafted the resolution. Librarians have enjoyed faculty status on SUNY campuses for decades, but the differences between librarians and "classroom faculty" are stark. Faculty members, for example, have ten-month contracts while library faculty members have 12-month "calendar year" obligations. In terms of salary, the average SUNY librarian in 2006 earned $55,595, while professors and instructors averaged $61,413, a difference of $5818. With negotiations between librarians and the university pending, the rhetoric has been constructive and measured thus far. SUNY librarians, meanwhile, have resolved to "remain actively engaged" with the issue. (from Library Journal) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Greenburgh Central District 7 schools Westchester County
s
01/05/2007
Negative Impact: There is an unconscionable inequity in students' and teachers' access to literature and information in the Greenburgh Central District 7 schools. For the 2006-'07 school year, the educational leadership eliminated a full-time librarian position from the budget. This, in essence, has reduced to part-time a fundamental basic service for all of the students in kindergarten through third grades in the Lee F. Jackson and Highview schools. The library is the soul of a school. School libraries are the basic infrastructure for student achievement. How? There are two parts to an elementary classroom instructional reading program - the learning-to-read phase and the reading-to-learn phase. The instructional program develops readers who learn to read independently for pleasure and learning which, in turn, is supported by both instruction and the collection in the school library. A literate society is built of citizens who read for pleasure and knowledge, in contrast to "aliterates" - those who can read and choose not to read. The library is part of the learning continuum that assists diverse learners seeking to expand skills and knowledge. In our increasingly diverse community, a fully staffed and functioning school library encourages reading and learning for all students by offering a variety of materials to match interests and reading abilities. Reduction of services to children has serious implications for their literacy. Access to books supports children reading for enjoyment and information: Children increase their skills by reading, which has a direct impact on student achievement. Students, teachers and families need the support of school libraries. Research shows that in schools where full-time librarians instruct and collaborate with teachers to integrate literature and information literacy into the classroom, student test scores improve. Why would the trustees of this district allow their administration to recommend the reduction of library services for our children? Never in my 40-plus years in Greenburgh has the educational leadership chosen to eliminate library services for our students. Since New York state raised education standards, and through the "No Child Left Behind Act," third-graders are tested in the language arts. Full-time library services are more critical than ever! How much more short-sightedness will occur from the educational leadership of this district? If the Greenburgh 7 schools are not to be in the "No School Left Behind" era, these inequities must be addressed as the budget process for the 2007-'08 school year begins. It is imperative that full-time librarians be restored to the Lee F. Jackson and Highview schools. The writer is the former principal of Lee F. Jackson school, and a member of the Greenburgh Central 7 Education Committee. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Fall
P
12/18/2006
Negative Impact: Niagara Falls Public LIbrary (NFPL) has had its share of budget woes. Currently, the city's proposed library budget of $1.6 million, the same as last year, is not enough to cover the current level of services, including contractual increases, according to NFPL director Betty Babanoury. No additional funds have been made available for dramatically higher energy costs and increased staff health insurance premiums, she told Library Hotline. According to the Buffalo News, some board members advocated closing the LaSalle Branch, which isn't handicap accessible and has a mold problem. "That won't happen," Babanoury said, but "we're still on an extremely limited budget." NFPL was successful in its lawsuit against the city to have the full 2005 budget of $2,063,292 restored after the mayor attempted to reduce funding by almost 50 percent. Compared with 2005 levels, noted Babanoury, net funding proposed for in the 2007 budget will actually decrease by $140,946. The library is downt o 35 FTE from 75 FTE ten years ago, she said. Twenty percent of the community the library serves lives on incomes below the poverty level. (LIbrary Hotline) 

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Library Name City Type Date
New City Library; Nyack Free Library Westerchester
P
12/14/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters in Clarkstown school district yesterday approved a $5.3 million budget for the public libraries in New City and West Nyack. A total of 819 people cast ballots. Among them, 506 people voted for, and 313 against a spending plan that will raise taxes by about 4 percent. For a home assessed at $200,000, the total tax bill will be $351.90 -up $13.87. Rosalie Heller of New City supported the budget. "We need to be able to pay for whatever increases that we need here," said the longtime New City resident, who comes to the library on North Main Street about twice a week to borrow books. "I think this is a great library." More than 80 percent of the budget, or nearly $4.4 million, will fund the New City Library, which is the larger of the two. It serves more than 46,000 residents - a population roughly six times the size of that served by the West Nyack Free Library. At both libraries, salary costs were the largest line items. At the New City Library, 54 percent, or about $2.27 million, will be used for salaries next year. The amount is up about 4.3 percent from this year's cost, $2.18 million. At the West Nyack Free Library, 53 percent, or about $509,000, will be used for employees' salaries next year. The amount is up about 6 percent from this year's salary cost, $480,150. An allocation for operation costs, such as fuels and electricity, will also increase for the next year because of the rising utility cost this year, said New City Library Director Richard Treleven. Trevelen said last night that he was happy the budget was approved. "Our two libraries sincerely try to keep our budget request very reasonable and as small as possible," Treleven said. "I think that the public recognizes that we try to keep our budget request small." (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Erie County library system Buffalo
P
12/12/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The Erie County Legislature on December 1 adopted a 2007 county budget that provides $22.2 million for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (BECPL), $500,000 more than the County Executive proposed. Between 2004 and 2005, the system lost nearly 25 percent of its county funding, and funding remained static in 2006. "Without doubt, the Library requires much more than $500,000 to address its many needs, but the $500,000 restoration is an encouraging beginning," stated a message on BECPL web site. The fiscal crisis caused BECPL to close 15 branches, leaving 37 facilities. Currently, three libraries are presently not open enough hours per week to meet New York State minimum standards, library spokeswoman Ami Patrick told LJ. "If funding would have remained stagnant in 2007, as many as 12 libraries were at risk in 2007 or beyond." About half of the new funding will ensure that the three libraries meet state standards, but the library would need about $700,000 to restore sorely needed hours at some other branches. "The $500,000 restoration will allow us to meet the most urgent need," Patrick said. "We will not be able to implement all of the additional hours we had hoped, but will improve the service at those most severely affected." (from Library Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
LaGrange library Poughkepsie
P
12/12/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Joan Kavanagh wholeheartedly agrees increased spending on the LaGrange library is a solid investment. The town board in recently adopting its 2007 budget included a $38,305 increase for the library — 7.6 percent more than this year's $499,516 allocation. Whenever there's a new book Kavanagh wants to read, she stops by her town library in Manchester Bridge. "We order books all the time before they get them in the bookstore," she said. Kavanagh also gives LaGrange Library Director Lisa Karim credit for the new books she offers and the overall service the staff provides. "I'm amazed at the books she gets," she said. "They are very accommodating. The increase in library spending was one of many budget decisions LaGrange Supervisor Jon Wagner made in drafting the 2007 spending plan, which the full town board reviewed and approved. The budget adoption deadline for all towns in New York state was Nov. 20. Local town boards met the deadline, approving budgets that slightly lowered spending in Beekman and Wappinger and increased it by as much as 33 percent in Amenia and 25.4 percent in Union Vale. Library spending is by no means the major new expense in LaGrange next year. Driving most of the $751,255 in new spending, Wagner said, are items the town has little control over such as fuel, electricity, employee benefits, highway asphalt and materials and meeting new state storm water management regulations. On the other hand, library spending is a major factor driving the approximately $90,000 budget increase in the Town of Stanford. Supervisor Dave Teator said he had proposed increasing 2007 spending only about $9,000, including $1,500 more for the library. But Stanford voters on Election Day approved a referendum increasing the library spending from $43,500 to $123,000. "We tried to hold the line but people voted for it," Teator said. The Town of Beekman was able to reduce overall spending by $21,588 due to cost cutting in several departments. A "significant savings" of at least $14,000 will be realized at Beekman Recreation Park by turning over operation of the concession stand to a private vendor, Beekman Recreation Director Sandy Washburn said. At the same time, Beekman is projecting to net $20,000 in new revenue with this spring's opening of a mini-golf course at the park on Recreation Road. "I've been pleased we've been able to add more programs," Washburn said. As with most local towns, Beekman is spending some of its reserve funds to reduce its 2007 tax rate. Beekman will transfer $760,000 of its fund balance to the general budget to limit the tax rate increase to a fraction of 1 percent. Spending a total of $778,000 in reserve funds is enabling the Town of Union Vale to take the sting out of its 25.4 percent spending increase. The lion's share of Union Vale's $770,005 spending increase next year is due to one project. "It's to the reclamation and dredging of Furnace Pond," Supervisor Lisette Hitsman said. "There's a dam that has to be replaced." Furnace Pond is in Tymor Park, Union Vale's 500-acre town park. The total cost next year of the dam-related work is $550,000. By spending $778,000 of rainy day funds, the town board is holding the tax rate increase at 1 percent. The Amenia town board also is spending a surplus of $500,000 in its reserve funds to offset a 33 percent expenditure increase next year. An expected increase of $300,000 in other revenues is enabling Amenia to decrease the tax rate by 2.3 percent, Supervisor Janet Reagon said. (from Poughkepsie Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
P
12/12/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: In Briarcliff Manor, residents approved a $4-million plan for a new village library to replace an old building that had been threatened with closure by county and state library offi cials. Voters passed increased budgets for libraries in Cheming County, Glens Falls, Newark, Newfi eld, Peekskill, Philipstown, Stanfordville, and Trumansburg; East Greenbush residents approved their library budget in September. In Nassau, a library tax that would supply $79,500 in library funding was approved 546 to 337. Poughkeepsie residents appeared to have favored a $14.5-million plan for expansion of the Adriance Memorial Library, although 500 absentee ballots remained to be counted. East Fishkill residents voted to establish a public library district. By 407 to 266, Voorheesville voters approved a proposal to purchase 5.6 acres behind the library to allow either expansion of the old library or construction of a new one. The $150,000 price tag includes $100,000 for the land and $50,000 to develop a plan. Residents in five library districts in Ulster County—Rosendale, Saugerties, Ulster, West Hurley, and Woodstock—approved budget proposals by wide margins September 5. In another May election, Hannibal voters agreed to a request by the library for $35,000 in annual funding to be collected through the school district’s annual tax bill. (from American Libraries) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Erie County library system Erie County
P
12/11/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Erie County's library system may finally get what it always wanted -- permanent legal protection from the whims and politics of the county's budget woes. County lawmakers, for the first time, seem poised to make permanent a current law that protects the library system from sudden midyear budget reductions. The law, known as the Library Protection Act, also requires that any county tax revenue going to the libraries appear as a separate item on residents' tax bills. "There were years when the library's budget was -- I wouldn't say raided -- but was compromised," said Michael C. Mahaney, director of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. "This is a good time to acknowledge that this law has worked for 14 years and should be made permanent." The law, which until now was temporary, was first adopted in 1992 and has been extended by the County Legislature several times over the years. If lawmakers approve this new measure -- supporters say they have at least 10 votes -- it would make the law permanent. A vote is expected Thursday, after a public hearing on the issue at 5 p.m. today in the Legislature's Chambers, fourth floor of County Hall, 92 Franklin St. The new law, if approved, would take effect Jan. 1. Perhaps the best example of how the library benefits from the law came in 2005 after the Legislature approved the library budget but then failed to pass an increase in the sales tax. The law prevented the county from going back and reducing the library budget until a year later. "This gives the library system a sense of security," said Legislator Michele M. Iannello, D-Kenmore, sponsor of the permanent law. "It's also an important step in the relationship between the libraries and the county." In general, the law has been renewed for two-year periods. The exception was in 1999, when legislators, concerned about a consolidation plan that would reduce the number of libraries in the system, approved the act for only one year as a way to keep control over the system. Library officials have spent years pushing for a permanent law, but, until now, lawmakers were always opposed to the notion. The law has its roots in the early 1990s, when the library system went to court to complain that the county was diverting funds from the system. In October 1992, after a three-year court battle, the State Court of Appeals backed the library's position that the diversion was illegal. The Legislature then followed up by passing the Library Protection Act. (from Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
12/01/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Public Library trustees avoided a vote to close the LaSalle branch at their November 29 meeting, despite reports in the media that the board president had enough votes to close the branch due to budget constraints and concerns about accessibility. “I’m absolutely, positively going to move that we close the LaSalle Branch Library and mothball it,” Board President Kenneth Hamilton said in the Buffalo News November 27. “And I have the votes.” On November 30, however, the News reported that three of five board members did not support closing the branch. Hamilton’s announcement was in response to the city’s proposed 2007 library budget of $1.6 million. That amount is the same as last year, but Library Director Betty Babanoury told the News November 27 that it is not enough to cover increased contractual expenses such as health care and will not support the current level of services. The board had also threatened to close the branch last year, when the budget was reduced from $2 million the year before. The two-story LaSalle branch was built in 1924 and has no ramp or elevator for accessibility to people with disabilities. The library has asked the city council for funds and applied for a state grant to remedy that problem. (American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Erie County
P
11/30/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Erie County lawmakers took the first step Wednesday in approving a budget that will keep the sales and property tax rates at current levels but increase funding for libraries, tourism marketing and some cultural groups. A final vote on the plan is expected Friday. "This budget is very tight," said Legislature Chairwoman Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda. "We're working along the margins, working along the edges." All in all, the Democratic majority -- they hold 12 of the Legislature's 15 seats -- changed very little in Giambra's budget, in part because the two branches agreed on the all-important issue of taxes. The revised budget assumes the extra three-quarters-of-a-penny sales tax will continue next year and that the property tax levy -- the amount of property tax revenue collected by the county -- will increase even though the average property tax rate stays the same. The higher levy is due to higher property assessments in many of the county's cities, towns and villages. One of the few surprises in the budget is the creation of a $3.2 million sales tax contingency fund that would cover any shortfall in sales tax collections next year. County officials have noticed a recent decline in collections and are worried that trend may continue in 2007. By creating the sales tax fund, lawmakers are keeping the average property tax rate at current levels. Under Giambra's budget, that rate would have fallen slightly, less than one-tenth of 1 percent. Lawmakers also seem poised to set aside the debate over capital spending, most notably Giambra's request for $15 million to expand Erie Community College downtown, until next year. The one exception would be a commitment to pay for contractual obligations such as improvements to Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Botanical Gardens. Giambra, who has the power to veto any additions to his budget, could not be reached to comment, but one of his point men on budget matters offered an enthusiastic endorsement of the Legislature's changes. "I think we can say with confidence that this is a budget that is structurally sound," said Budget Director James M. Hartman. In drafting its own budget, the Legislature: Gave an additional $500,000 to both the library system and the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau. The bureau's funding is linked to anticipated growth in the hotel bed tax next year. Only eight votes are needed for the budget to pass Friday, but Marinelli said she hopes to have at least 10 or 11 to protect against a potential Giambra veto. A veto override requires a two-thirds majority. One of those yes votes was expected to be Democrat Thomas Loughran, an Amherst Democrat. But on Wednesday, Loughran indicated he may try to push through some new cost-saving amendments when the budget comes up for a final vote. The other Democratic wild card is Cynthia E. Locklear of West Seneca, who already has suggested she may vote with the Republicans. (The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library New York
P
11/28/2006
Negative Impact: While the New York Public Library (NYPL) has been raising the salaries of top managers, employees are grumbling—and that made for a prominent article in the November 19 New York Times, under the headline "New York Library Officials' Pay? Shhh". Subsequent to the article, NYPL Guild Local 1930 president Lynne Taylor told LJ that NYPL management were guilty of "paying themselves huge amounts of money," while tuition reimbursements have been cut from $6000 to $3300 for those seeking an LIS degree and from $3000 to $1500 for undergraduate work. While the tuition cuts, which affected 60 library graduate school trainees, totaled just $162,000, Susan Kent, director and chief executive of the branch libraries, earns $302,484, a jump of about $59,200 more than the previous director. Catherine Carver Dunn, a senior vice president handling fundraising, communications, and government relations, was paid $322,729, an increase of almost $90,000 over four years. The union is in the midst of negotiating a contract retroactive to July 1, 2005. At stake is a total 9.42 percent compounded wage increase over approximately 32 months. Another hot issue is the restoration of cuts made to the tuition assistance program. Below the $6000 figure, Taylor said, "you can't possibly go to library school in New York City." The latest cut, she added, was announced in the middle of a summer session, retroactive to July 1, meaning that students already enrolled were effectively penalized without warning. A 3.15 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2005 was released on November 13, just before the union threatened to protest outside a library gala. A union grievance filed over the tuition assistance cuts, however, is still pending. NYPL said in a statement, "The level of tuition assistance provided by the Library has fluctuated over the years. However, we are pleased that we are still able to provide support that will fund an MLS degree in full or contribute substantially to the cost, depending on the program." In the November 26 New York Times, NYPL Chairwoman Catherine Marron responded, "Contrary to the implication of your headline, the New York Public Library has always been open about its compensation practices; indeed, we provide a link from our Web site to a source for our tax returns, which include this information in full. We are unified in our belief that the top management team we have attracted to the library is largely responsible for successfully seeing us through the difficult financial times we experienced after 9/11. Competitive compensation is necessary to attract and keep the best people." (from Library Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Briafcliff Manor
P
11/28/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Briarcliff Manor residents approved $4 million to replace an aging building that had been threatened with closure. (from American Libraries)  

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Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library Clifton Park
P
11/22/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: For Ed and Francine Rodger, next month's opening of the new Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library represents a crowning achievement of decades of work. The Clifton Park couple has worked with the library for much of its 40 years, going back almost to the 1960s, when past presidents of the Shenendehowa Rotary Club first considered planning a library for the two southern Saratoga County towns. The Rodgers helped the library move into a partially unheated abandoned schoolhouse on Cemetery Road in Halfmoon in 1973. A few years later, they raised funds to build the library's present Clifton Country Road location, which will close Monday after 26 years of serving the public. More recently, as a member of the library's Board of Trustees, Ed shepherded past voters the library district 's new $15 million, 55,000-square-foot library at 475 Moe Road. The facility, dubbed the "Taj Mahal" by critics, will open Dec. 11 with an official ribbon-cutting. "Our other facilities were less than we wanted or needed, but what we could afford," Ed said. "Now, particularly with the inclusion of Halfmoon in the district again, we have a resource base to really build the right thing. We think it's going to be a quantum leap up in terms of service to the community, and it is a lovely building." The private Shenendehowa Free Library Association started when a com mittee of past Rotary officials declared around 1966 that Clifton Park and Halfmoon needed a library and park, Francine recalled. The library was homeless for a few of its formative years. It began collecting books in a garage in Clifton Knolls around 1968, Francine said. About a year later, a bank offered the library free use of its second floor in a red brick building at routes 9 and 146. "The library opened with volunteer librarians and staff," Francine said. "We were off and running." Shenendehowa Rotary paid the utility bills. In 1973, the library moved into the Halfmoon schoolhouse on Cemetery Road. That doubled its space to two rooms. Members and visitors refurbished the site, but it was a work in progress. "It was so cold we asked the Kiwanis to spread manure and straw around the base of the building to prevent the pipes from freezing because we had no heat in the basement," which served as the staff and board room, Francine remembered with a laugh. During the 1970s, the library raised about half of the $500,000 needed for its present space by going door-to-door. Ed served as chairman of the fundraising committee from 1977 to 1979. The land on Clifton Country Road was donated. Francine remained on the library's board for 16 years until the mid-1980s, when it became a taxing district. Halfmoon rejoined the district in 2001. The present library was expanded in the 1980s. Two years ago, a slim majority of voters in Halfmoon and Clifton Park agreed with the board that the site was too small to serve the needs of the district and approved the Moe Road facility. Building the new library came in within budget. Only a water feature for the exterior "reading garden" may not get done by next month, said Dave Golden, library spokesman. More than 150,000 items will be moved into the new site while the library stays closed for two weeks before Dec. 11. Ed has served on the 11-member Board of Trustees for 10 years. He went out of his way to recognize all the board members for their contribution to the new library, especially president Christene Thurston, whom he said drove its approval and design efforts. Still, there's no denying Ed and Francine Rodger's work to better the area's libraries down the years. "It was a team effort right from the beginning," Francine said of the couple 's efforts. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New Paltz
P
11/21/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The adopted town budget for 2007 includes a higher salary for the supervisor, increased library funding and a total spending increase of 6.55 percent. The New Paltz board adopted the budget late Thursday night. After lengthy discussion, the board decided to keep Supervisor Toni Hokanson 's annual salary at the $44,000 listed in the tentative budget. Showing a comparison of how much other local town supervisors are paid, Hokanson said the salary needed to be high enough that community members would consider running for office. Increased demands of the supervisor's job merit a higher salary, Deputy Supervisor Kitty Brown said. "I think the job is worth the money," Brown said, supporting the increase to $44,000. Councilwoman Kathleen Healey wanted to give the supervisor's position the standard 3 percent raise, but the measure did not receive enough support to call a vote. {dcdc}Library budget raised The board voted 3-2 to increase the Elting Memorial Library operating budget 6 percent to $155,035.60 from $146,260. The tentative budget included no increase. "The library is about building community," said Healey, who voted for the increase. Hokanson, who prepared the tentative budget, voted against the increase, saying it was simply too expensive. "I love the library," she said, addressing the members of the library board sitting in the audience. "But the town cannot afford to increase the operating expenses. ... The town has other obligations that it's not adequately funding." Brown also voted against the increase, saying she could support a 3 percent increase, but 6 percent was too high. Other changes from the tentative budget included: *Adding $60,000 to hire a planner to update the town's master plan and zoning code paid out of the unexpended fund balance. The hire has no financial impact on property taxes. *Adding $10,000 for a building facilities evaluation. *Reducing the recreation director's position to part time. The position will receive a 3 percent raise to earn $27,348.56, but will not be made full time as suggested by the supervisor. *Reducing "Field of Dreams," a proposed ball field complex, spending to $0 from $54,000. The "Field of Dreams" money would have paid for some engineering and supplies. Hokanson removed the funding after some residents and board members said they were led to believe the project would not be paid through taxes. Brown said she has found no documentation proving or denying this claim. (fro Poughkepsie Journal) 

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library NY
P
11/19/2006
Negative Impact: Three years ago, the New York Public Library -- the city landmark with 50 million books and other items in its vast collections -- declared itself in some financial distress. At a news conference with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, library officials unveiled what they called an emergency campaign to raise $18 million in private money to deal with cuts in city and state financing and a multimillion-dollar endowment diminished by the tough economic realities after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The library eventually sold off an Upper East Side apartment it owned for nearly $3 million, and later, to the dismay of some, had 18 works of art from its collection auctioned off for $52 million to help shore up the endowment. Most recently, the library, citing budget constraints, reduced its tuition assistance program for its employees. But across those years, the financial tribulations at the library were not reflected in at least one significant way: the compensation received by some of the institution's top officers. The library's most recent federal tax filing shows that the total compensation for Paul LeClerc, the library's president and chief executive, had increased to more than $800,000, a jump of more than $221,000 from just a year earlier. During 2005, the library also hired three officers who were paid substantially more than the people they replaced. One of those newcomers, David S. Ferriero, the director and chief executive of the institution's research libraries, received compensation of $349,066 that year, nearly $118,000 more than his predecessor's annual salary, according to records and interviews. Samuel C. Butler, chairman of the compensation committee of the library's board, said the compensation for Mr. Ferriero that year included a reimbursement for part of the cost of moving his family to New York. And another of the newly hired managers, Susan Kent, the director and chief executive of the branch libraries, was given a compensation package of $302,484, or about $59,200 more than the person who had that job the prior year, the tax documents show. The records also show that Catherine Carver Dunn, the library's senior vice president who is involved in fund-raising and communications and handles government relations, was paid $322,729 -- an increase of nearly $90,000 within four years. Library officials said that during that period her responsibilities were expanded. Mr. Butler, who was chairman of the library's board through 2004, said in a telephone interview last week that the increases for the officers were necessary to bring the library in line with comparable nonprofit institutions that have budgets of similar size. Mr. Butler said that at the heart of the generous compensation arrangements was the need to attract and retain top-flight managerial talent at the library, an institution that he described as unique and complex. He also said the library 's finances had improved of late. The library -- which has a budget of about $300 million and an endowment of around $660 million -- has 90 locations in Manhattan, in the Bronx and on Staten Island. Through a library spokesman, Dr. LeClerc, who has been president of the library since 1993, and Catherine C. Marron, its chairwoman, declined to be interviewed. Instead, the library arranged for Mr. Butler to be interviewed. Last week, The New York Times called more than a dozen of the library's other board members about the officers' compensation. But they either did not return calls or would not comment on the matter. Asked about the compensation, one of the trustees, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, said, ''I'm not going to talk about it.'' Jane Silver, president of the Irene Diamond Fund, which in 2003 and 2004 gave the library significant donations, though not specifically in response to the emergency drive, said that she did not know about the compensation increases given to officers. ''I think it is my job to be aware of the financial situations of our grantees because that plays a role in our decision-making,'' Ms. Silver said. Mr. Butler said the compensation committee had reached its decisions about the salary increases after reviewing financial information about comparable institutions, which had been compiled by a paid consultant. Mr. Butler declined to identify those institutions. As for the new compensation package for Dr. LeClerc, Mr. Butler said: ' 'While we were certainly watching every single penny, we thought he was worth the increase. The board thinks he has done a simply fantastic job, and we do not want to lose him.'' Dr. LeClerc came to his position at the library from the presidency of Hunter College. His contract with the library, which was expiring in 2004, was renewed for five years. His responsibilities include leading fund-raising efforts and negotiating the city's contribution to the library's budget. Under the new terms, Dr. LeClerc's salary increased in fiscal year 2005, which ended June 30 of last year, to $464,170 from $356,512, according to the library's tax documents. He also received $136,110 as a housing allowance. But Mr. Butler said that because Dr. LeClerc owns his apartment in Manhattan, the money was effectively an addition to his salary. Other payments, like deferred compensation and a retroactive salary increase, made the total annual package worth $813,345. Mr. Butler also said that Dr. LeClerc and other officers of the library had recently received further enhancements to their compensation, but he said he would not reveal what they were. He said that until formal tax documents were filed, the size of the additional increases were ''private, confidential information.'' Dr. LeClerc's compensation is not paid from public funds, library officials say. In the world of charitable organizations and major public-private institutions, executive compensation has grown sizably in recent years. Those who defend the increased salaries contend that such costs are dictated by the marketplace for the most talented and expert people. Others, however, have complained that the often quite lucrative pay -- while opaque to donors, large and small -- has become excessive. A survey of compensation for nonprofit executives that was featured in the September issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy showed that Dr. LeClerc's salary of $464,170 was significantly less, for instance, than that of Glenn D. Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art. Mr. Lowry's compensation for the same fiscal year, excluding benefits and expense allowances, was $875,301, according to the magazine. But in the category of museums and libraries, Dr. LeClerc's salary was considerably higher than what James Cuno, the director and president of the Art Institute of Chicago, took home that year. The survey reported that Mr. Cuno's compensation was $323,531. Comparisons aside, it is clear that the New York Public Library was facing a somewhat tough and perhaps unusual set of financial circumstances several years ago. Fund-raising, one of Dr. LeClerc's chief responsibilities, was off; and the economy, still recovering after 9/11, was somewhat sluggish. In the library's 2003 annual report, Mr. Butler, who was then chairman of the board of trustees, and Dr. LeClerc wrote in a joint letter that the library was struggling through ''what is -- and could remain for some years to come -- one of the most challenging periods in our long and distinguished history.'' Some of the actions the library took to address the situation, though, caused dismay. Some art experts argued that the selling of artwork, including the library 's star painting, ''Kindred Spirits,'' an 1849 Hudson River School landscape by Asher B. Durand, was akin to jettisoning part of the city's cultural patrimony. And the prices that some of the pieces of art brought were less than their estimated value. The library said at the time that paintings and sculptures had never been a major emphasis of its collections and that it was not a museum. Lynn Taylor, president of local 1930 of the New York Public Library Guild, which represents 1,700 workers at the institution, said that she was bothered by the reductions in the tuition assistance program. The union, she said, has filed a grievance with the library. Dr. LeClerc, anyway, would feel little if any of the financial squeeze caused by the library's budgetary predicament. The compensation committee unanimously approved the new five-year deal. Mr. Butler recalled that during the negotiations, Dr. LeClerc was concerned about the financial health of the library. ''The committee took all that into consideration,'' Mr. Butler said. ''We did not put him at the top of comparable institutions.'' Little information about the negotiations or hirings was made readily available to the public, or to the library's many donors. Jon Small, the government relations consultant for the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, an educational and services organization for the nonprofit sector, said that state and federal laws require that compensation for executives of nonprofit institutions be reasonable. That is tested by assessing similar positions at institutions of ''comparable size and complexity, '' he said. ''These laws are intended to prevent people from receiving compensation they are not entitled to based on the services performed,'' said Mr. Small, who offered no opinion of the library's decisions. ''Obviously, there is a certain degree of vagueness within these parameters.'' The city's financial support for the library amounts to more than $100 million a year, library officials say. Stu Loeser, chief spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said on Friday, ''The mayor through his experience on about 20 nonprofit boards and as chairman of Johns Hopkins University believes that the public and nonprofit sectors need strong management, and they should pay for it.'' (from New York Times)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Piermont library Westerchester
P
11/16/2006
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Fundraising Results: A nonprofit that is helping pay for the village's new library is expected to reach its fundraising goal this weekend while providing a few yuks. The Dennis P. McHugh Foundation on Saturday will make good on its $500,000 commitment to the village's public library, said Rob Hinchcliffe, a foundation board member. The foundation is sponsoring its fourth annual Comedy Night and Silent Auction at Tappan Zee High School. Admission is $25. Construction on the $2.5 million waterfront building - which is to be named after McHugh, a New York City firefighter who died while responding to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center - is nearly complete. The Dennis P. McHugh Piermont Public Library is expected to open early next year. "This was a good way to commemorate Dennis, with a library," Hinchcliffe, McHugh's brother-in-law, said yesterday. "Now that the library is actually built, to contribute $500,000 is great. ... Certainly, this is a great achievement." The silent auction starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes about 100 items, such as vacation packages, sports and theater tickets, and home improvement and landscaping services. Comedians from Gotham Comedy Club in New York City take the stage at 8 p.m. The evening is expected to draw as many as 500 people and could raise as much as $50,000, Hinchcliffe said. "You're raising money for a good cause," he said. "It's top-notch comedians. It's going to be a good laugh." The comedy night coincides with an announcement that the Hinchcliffe family will make a $160,000 donation to the foundation. Sara Tucker, campaign manager for the library, said the foundation's fundraising and support has been instrumental in a successful capital campaign that has brought in $1.2 million. That campaign concludes Dec. 31, she said. "They're one of our most significant and generous donors," Tucker said, citing the foundation's initial contributions to the drive. "That family's donation was really what put our capital campaign on the road to success. It really helped us meet our fundraising needs." In addition to private dollars and expected proceeds from the sale of the current library building, voters approved a $1.9 million bond in December 2003 to build the library. Because fundraising was so successful, Tucker said, the library likely wouldn't have to borrow the entire amount. When complete, the library, designed by Nyack-based Colgan Perry Lawler Aurell Architects, will feature: - A 4,000-square-foot building with a river view and an expanded collection to include 13,000 materials. - A children's room with an arts and crafts area and more programming. - More computers, increased multimedia capabilities and wireless Internet access. - Gallery space for art exhibits. - A 98-person capacity community room for meetings. - More parking and handicapped accessibility. Though the foundation will meet its goal for construction, Hinchcliffe said, the nonprofit group will continue to sponsor its annual Family Day, as well as Comedy Night. He said the events would enable the foundation to continue to support children's programs at the library and other issues dear to the McHugh family. "Dennis was a big runner, and a great guy with a great sense of humor," Hinchcliffe said, adding that the firefighter also loved reading and taking his children to the library. "We'll continue to support kids programs, and we'll find new causes. We'll be doing this (from Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Gates library Rochester
P
11/13/2006
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Positive Impact: Despite budget pressures, area libraries have worked hard to stay open on Saturdays, one of their busiest days. "Saturdays have a higher people count than a few other days in the week," said Amy Gardner, president of the library board in Gates. "It's the day when we have a lot of students coming in." For a while, though, it looked as if the Gates library might have to close on Saturdays because of a $30,000 cut in the library's budget. But the library's board of trustees voted this month to maintain 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday hours by cutting three hours from its Friday schedule; Friday closing will be at 6 p.m., starting in 2007. "We're ecstatic that we found a way to keep the library open on Saturdays because it is a relatively busy day for us," said Judy MacKnight, library director. "We knew given the survey that reductions were going to be made so we sacrificed Friday hours." While libraries throughout the county are open for at least a few hours on Saturdays, on Sundays, most libraries are closed or have shortened hours. This can put more pressure on Saturdays, as library patrons only have one weekend day to use the library. Around 500 people typically come to the Gates library on Saturdays. This Saturday, Veterans Day, activity was a little slow in the morning, but by early afternoon the library was busy as usual, said Nancy Blanda, one of the reference librarians. "We helped a lot of students with projects," she said. "And families use the library on Saturdays." Other libraries in the county were busy as well. "We've had kids, we've had seniors," said Stephanie Voorheis, who was working in the children's section of the Greece Public Library. "We've had a variety of people." The weather — soggy and gray — was conducive to a visit to the library, she added. "It's one those days," she said. "It's rainy out. When that happens, people like to come in." Amy Joslyn, the children's librarian at the Fairport Public Library, also reported a busy day at the library. By her count, there were around 60 people in the library at 1:30 p.m. All ages were represented. The cut in library funding in Gates came after town officials asked residents to rank various services. Keeping Saturday hours received the second lowest totals out of 10 items in the survey, just ahead of the Summer Celebration. The cuts are intended to help dig the town out of more than a $2 million deficit in the general and highway funds. Many of the library cuts came from supplies, staff retirement, materials and employee benefits. The New York state Department of Education mandates the Gates library must be open 55 hours a week because of its population, said MacKnight. "The community needs Saturday hours because it's one of the days of the week when families are off," said Frank Tripi of Gates, a regular at the library. "During the week, people often have other responsibilities to handle than coming to the library." Ralph Esposito, Gates supervisor, said the saving of the library hours is good news for the community. "I applaud the library board for doing some constructive thinking and finding a day to adjust with $30,000 less. We all have to make tough choices," he said. "I have always thought that Friday nights have been slow for the library." (From Democrat and Chronicle)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Rochester
P
11/12/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Despite budget pressures, area libraries have worked hard to stay open on Saturdays, one of their busiest days. "Saturdays have a higher people count than a few other days in the week," said Amy Gardner, president of the library board in Gates. "It's the day when we have a lot of students coming in." For a while, though, it looked as if the Gates library might have to close on Saturdays because of a $30,000 cut in the library's budget. But the library's board of trustees voted this month to maintain 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday hours by cutting three hours from its Friday schedule; Friday closing will be at 6 p.m., starting in 2007. "We're ecstatic that we found a way to keep the library open on Saturdays because it is a relatively busy day for us," said Judy Mac Knight, library director. "We knew given the survey that reductions were going to be made so we sacrificed Friday hours." While libraries throughout the county are open for at least a few hours on Saturdays, on Sundays, most libraries are closed or have shortened hours. This can put more pressure on Saturdays, as library patrons only have one weekend day to use the library. Around 500 people typically come to the Gates library on Saturdays. This Saturday, Veterans Day, activity was a little slow in the morning, but by early afternoon the library was busy as usual, said Nancy Blanda, one of the reference librarians. "We helped a lot of students with projects," she said. "And families use the library on Saturdays." Other libraries in the county were busy as well. "We've had kids, we've had seniors," said Stephanie Voorheis, who was working in the children's section of the Greece Public Library. "We've had a variety of people." The weather soggy and gray was conducive to a visit to the library, she added. "It's one those days," she said. "It's rainy out. When that happens, people like to come in." Amy Joslyn, the children's librarian at the Fairport Public Library, also reported a busy day at the library. By her count, there were around 60 people in the library at 1:30 p.m. All ages were represented. The cut in library funding in Gates came after town officials asked residents to rank various services. Keeping Saturday hours received the second lowest totals out of 10 items in the survey, just ahead of the Summer Celebration. The cuts are intended to help dig the town out of more than a $2 million deficit in the general and highway funds. Many of the library cuts came from supplies, staff retirement, materials and employee benefits. The New York state Department of Education mandates the Gates library must be open 55 hours a week because of its population, said MacKnight. "The community needs Saturday hours because it's one of the days of the week when families are off," said Frank Tripi of Gates, a regular at the library. "During the week, people often have other responsibilities to handle than coming to the library." Ralph Esposito, Gates supervisor, said the saving of the library hours is good news for the community. "I applaud the library board for doing some constructive thinking and finding a day to adjust with $30,000 less. We all have to make tough choices," he said. "I have always thought that Friday nights have been slow for the library." (From Rochester Democrat and Chronicle) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Nassau Free Library Nassau
P
11/09/2006
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Positive Impact: A second attempt by officials of the 115-year-old Nassau Free Library to get a fixed library tax line added to town resident's bills was a success Tuesday. Voters in the largely rural town approved a proposition that would provide $79,500 annually for library operation, up from $51,200 the library has received in annual funding from the county, two towns and two villages over the past couple of years. The vote was 546-337. "We will now be able to increase our hours, be able to do more programming for children and have outreach services for people in the more remote corners of town," said Pat Sahr, library director. The proposition will cost the owner of the average home in town about $20 more a year in taxes. A similar proposition for less, a $79,000 budget line, was defeated last November, 604-578. Turnout was higher last year because the town supervisor and two Town Board seats were up for grabs in a contentious election. State legislation passed in 1995 allows libraries to go to voters to ask them to designate annual support for their public library out of their town taxes. Tuesday's result will add a library tax to Nassau resident's tax bills each year, but will not make the library a separate taxing district. The library this year received $4,600 from Rensselaer County, $20,600 from the town of Nassau, $5,500 from the village of Nassau, $2,500 from the village of East Nassau and $18,000 from the town of Schodack. Schodack does not have its own library and pays for its residents to use neighboring libraries. However, that town has created a committee to examine the prospect of establishing its own library. Sahr said the probability of losing the Schodack funding in part motivated officials to push for the proposition, Sahr said. The library's current funding has required putting off repairs to its historic building, Sahr said. The library is also seeing increases in the costs of heat, electricity, insurance and library services. Officials are also looking to upgrade services, increase library hours and provide library services to the Hoag's Corners section of town, Sahr said. The small library, located in the village of Nassau, has four part-time employees, a collection of 21,000 items and 1,800 registered borrowers. The Church Street site is a historic Federal-style building that was constructed in 1835. Besides offering access to books, audio books, videos, CDs and computers, visitors can research the Ralph Phillips Genealogical Collection, which contains historical information about hundreds of families from Nassau and Schodack. Tax outlookThe library tax will be $32.04 for each $100,000 of assessed taxable value for all residents of the town and the villages within it. That would represent an increase from current levels of $20.43 per $100,000 for Nassau residents outside the villages; $18.62 for village of Nassau residents and $23.12 for people in the village of East Nassau. Source: Nassau Free Library (from the Times Union)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
11/08/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters in three Westchester and two Putnam County communities yesterday supported library budgets, a new library, and an open-space proposition. In Briarcliff Manor, voters approved a $4 million plan for a new village library, and in Peekskill and Philipstown voters supported increased library budgets for the upcoming year. A proposal in Southeast to spend $5 million on open-space acquisitions appeared to have narrowly won approval, according to unofficial results from the Putnam County Board of Election. Late last night, it was unclear whether three charter changes in Yonkers government rules would move forward. - Philipstown voters agreed to increase operating funds for the Julia M. Butterfield Memorial Library in Cold Spring from $151,000 to $276,000. This marked the first time the library had gone to the voters for a rise in its public funding in accordance with a 1995 state law. "I am encouraged with the community's support," library director Gillian Thorpe said last night. - Briarcliff will be able to replace an old building that has been threatened with closure by Westchester County and state library administrators who said it was inadequate for the community. A private fundraising effort will also be undertaken for extra expenses in the library's construction, officials said. A similar referendum to build a new library was voted down twice in the 1990s. Some residents had complained that a new library - in addition to a new nearby Ossining Public Library - would create duplication of services and unnecessary expenses for taxpayers, some of whom also pay taxes to Ossining. "This is a vital issue for the community and the community deserves this," Eva Taben, president of the Board of Trustees of the Briarcliff Manor Public Library said last evening. - Southeast voters favored allowing the town to spend $5 million to purchase undeveloped land. The measure is expected to cost the average town taxpayer an estimated $75 a year for the bond's 20-year life. It was the first time a Putnam County town had placed an open-space measure on the ballot. Voters last year defeated by a slim margin a countywide referendum to set aside $20 million. The Trust for Public Land had touted the effort, saying it would help protect drinking water sources. Southeast's Open Space Advisory Committee is expected to work with the town to identify properties to be purchased from willing sellers. "I believe in miracles. This is huge for the town and Putnam County. It leads the way for other towns who had been tentative," said Ann Fanizzi, a member of the town of Southeast Open Space Advisory Committee. An anonymous mailer, sent over the weekend to Southeast homes, attempted to thwart the open-space measure, calling for its rejection. - Peekskill voters approved a $35,000 increase in the annual funding at the Field Library to cover a 3 percent costs of living raise for staff and increases in state retirement and health-insurance costs. Last year, the library's referendum was approved by more than 2-to-1. - Yonkers voters had three ballot initiatives proposed by the city's Charter Revision Commission, an eight-member panel appointed by Mayor Phil Amicone. Last night with less than one quarter of the districts reporting by presstime, it was unclear whether the measures would pass. Proposition 2, the most controversial proposal, would set deadlines for completion of environmental reviews. The commission proposed giving applicants one-year after a draft environmental impact statement to complete the review. Proposition 1 would allow voters greater say in how City Council vacancies are filled and Proposition 3 would set thresholds that trigger bids for public contracts under the City Charter. Proposition 3 would require all public-works contracts worth more than $20,000 and all purchase contracts worth more than $10,000 to be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in a competitive process.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo
P
11/08/2006
Negative Impact: A year after 15 library branches were shut down as a result of Erie County's budget crisis, three more are in danger of losing their charters because hours and services do not meet state requirements. Several others raised enough money independently to squeak by but worry that private appeals will fall short if public funding isn't restored in 2007. That was the bleak picture painted Monday by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library as it urged citizens to back the restoration of $2.3 million in county funding. Under County Executive Joel A. Giambra's proposed 2007 budget, the library tax appropriation would remain unchanged at $21.6 million. "We have simply exhausted all avenues," board Chairwoman Rebecca Pordum said, noting that the library has lost 25 percent of its annual county support - a total of $7 million - since 2004 and that Giambra's recommendation is below the 1997 funding level. "Continuing down this funding path will cause irreparable damage to this institution and to the thousands of individuals it supports on a daily basis," Pordum said. "We need more than the current recommendation to successfully sustain this system. Not a lot more - just enough to get back to fundamental levels of service." Despite independent fundraising initiatives, branches in Eden, North Collins and Boston have been unable to offer sufficient hours or services to meet state guidelines and could lose their charters, said Library Director Michael C. Mahaney. Minimum required hours vary by the size of a library and the number of residents it serves. Even with private money supplementing their county allocation, the Eden and Boston branches are currently able to open just 30 hours a week, five hours less than the state requires. The North Collins library is open 22 hours a week, three hours below the state standard. Nine other branches countywide received enough private contributions to keep services at levels that meet state standards, but they may fall short if they again have to raise money independently in 2007, Mahaney said. During a County Legislature budget hearing last week, library officials proposed a "modest" four-tier restoration, beginning with an "urgent" $252,000 increase followed by three gradual step-ups. By their reckoning, the entire $2.3 million package would cost the average household about 62 cents a month. "For less than the cost of a cup of coffee or a candy bar, our community can have more convenient hours and additional services," Mahaney said. In an online survey conducted over the summer, 85 percent of participants supported a limited increase in county property tax funding, Mahaney said. Most of the 85 percent said the increase should be $25 or more per $100,000 of assessed valuation. "We're not trying to do anything outrageous," Mahaney said. "We just want to build the system back to where it meets community needs." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Syracuse
P
11/02/2006
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Positive Impact: The Manlius Town Board approved the 2007 budget Oct. 25 after restoring support for the town's three libraries and the East Syracuse Free Library in DeWitt. Town residents appeared at the public hearing on the budget to support the libraries and to question and criticize the board over pay raises for elected officials. In approving the budget, the board made no changes in the proposed pay for town Clerk Terry Sloan or Highway Superintendent Bill Bennett . The town has traditionally supported the libraries. Last year, the Minoa, Manlius and Fayetteville Free libraries each received $21,500 from the town. East Syracuse received $1,800. That support was dropped as Supervisor Hank Chapman and town board members worked on the 2007 budget. Word of the cuts mobilized library supporters, who called Chapman's office and wrote letters. Supporters helped fill the meeting room at the public hearing on next year's budget. Chapman announced his support for restoring the money before the public hearing opened. "Since the last meeting, I've had discussions with people at all four the libraries," he said. Because the libraries are on different budget cycles, Chapman said he supports restoring the town's contribution in 2007, but won't support giving town money to the libraries in 2008. The libraries receive most of their money through the school districts. Chapman said he believes in that "single-funding source." Gail George , president of the Minoa Library board, thanked the board for reinstating the money, and urged members to continue the support in future years. She noted that the town's contribution is about 12 percent of her library 's annual budget of $175,000. "We do a lot with a little budget," she said. The spending for all four libraries only amounts to about 1 percent of the town's budget, she said. Councilor David M. Marnell Sr. agreed that the town should stop library funding in 2008, but Councilor John Curtis said the board should consider future support for Minoa Library because it gets its money through the East Syracuse-Minoa district, which includes taxpayers in DeWitt, Cicero and Sullivan. Councilor Nicholas Marzola outlined cuts in other areas of the town budget that could be made to fund the libraries at the 2006 budget amounts. The cuts were made in insurance, reserve and contingency and information technology accounts, which will keep the small decreases in the tax rate contained in the town's preliminary budget. The tax rates are expected to be $4.285 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for the full town, down from $4.327 and $3.194 per $1,000 for the part-town, down from $3.273. Total appropriations for 2007 in the general and highway funds will be $10,547,184. Town resident Hamilton Armstrong said the villages, town and school districts all are composed of different constituencies and all should support the libraries. "Each one has a responsibility for paying," he said. The board should continue to support libraries in the future, he said. Ian Hunter , a Syracuse resident who owns property in Manlius, noted that libraries are essential to families that home-school their children. "We use the libraries extensively," he said. No audience member spoke against library funding, and comments of support were met with applause. (from Post Standard) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Poughkepsie
P
11/02/2006
Negative Impact: About 100 people turned up at the public hearing on the 2007 Ulster County tentative budget to defend the tourism department, library fundingand their own jobs. The tentative budget totaling $300,192,221 would raise county taxes 7.52 percent. Prepared by the county administrator's office, it suggests cutting 59 positions, 27 of which would result in layoffs. Wearing bright yellow badges with "Library Supporter" written on them, several members of the public asked for the requested $100,000 for library improvements. The tentative budget allocated no money for public libraries. Last year, the county paid $100,000, down from $200,000 in 2005. David Thompson of Rosendale said he used the Rosendale Library extensively after he was injured and unable to work. "Think of those who you represent and what they would want to cut," Thompson told the Legislature. The county is coming off of a 39 percent tax increase last year. Low reserve funds prohibited last year's Legislature from offsetting the increase with reserve money. This year, County Administrator Michael Hein opted not to use reserve funding again, believing the reserve is still too low. On Monday, department heads made appeals to the Legislature's Ways and Means Committee. Alternative sentencing, local transit, mental health, environmental management, information services, the sheriff's offices and the youth bureau were the departments to appeal the budget. {Poughkeepsie Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Erie County library Erie County
P
10/31/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Erie County library officials asked lawmakers Monday for more than $2 million in new funding for next year. The request, which was made during the County Legislature's budget deliberations, would increase county aid to the library system for the first time in three years. "We've suffered, struggled, but we've not succumbed," said Library Board Chairwoman Rebecca L. Pordum. "We have no wiggle room left." Right now, the library expects to receive $21.7 million from the county next year, the same amount it received this year and last year but about $7 million less than it received in previous years. In 2005, during the county's fiscal crisis, the library system to closed 15 branch libraries, reduced hours at its remaining branches, cut 225 jobs and took its bookmobiles off the road. (from Buffalo News)  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
Syracuse
P
10/19/2006
Negative Impact: The preliminary 2007 budget for the town of Manlius eliminates all support for the town's libraries. In 2006, the Manlius, Fayetteville Free, and Minoa Free libraries each received $21,500 from the town. The town also contributed $1,800 to the East Syracuse Free Library. Supervisor Hank Chapman said he believes the libraries should have a single source for funds: the annual referendum conducted during school elections each spring. "The idea isn't what the libraries deserve, it's just getting a consistent funding system," he said. The libraries only learned of the cuts recently. "It's noticeable," said Pat Infantine , executive director of the Manlius Library. "We'll have to find a way to replace those funds." The library's current budget totals $925,000. The library board will discuss the cuts, she said. Sue Considine , executive director of the Fayetteville Free Library, said she is baffled by the cut. "It's a blow," she said. "We can't afford to lose that money." The library's 2006 operating budget is $910,947. If the cut stands, the library board likely will seek to make up the money in next year's referendum. The libraries also have fundraising campaigns. The cut will hurt the Minoa Free Library the most. "I don't know what we'll do," said Director Bob Brown . Minoa's operating budget is about $175,000, he said. "The residents of the town use all three libraries interchangeably, which implies the town has some responsibility," Brown said. Comments on the town's proposed budget will be heard at the annual public hearing, scheduled for Wednesday. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in Manlius Town Hall, 301 Brooklea Drive, Fayetteville. (from the Post-Standard)  

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Queens
P
10/11/2006
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Positive Impact: The following information was released by the Office of New York Congressman Joseph Crowley: Chief Deputy Whip Joseph Crowley (D-Queens & the Bronx) today announced $50,000 in federal funds for after school programs at the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Corona. Congressman Crowley obtained the funding in the Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006. The amount secured by the Congressman will help ensure that the Queens public library can continue offering grade school students the chance to participate in the successful Homework Assistance Program (HAP), which faced possible elimination due to city budget cutbacks in recent years. Congressman Crowley was joined by state Sen. John Sabini (D-Corona) and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, in addition to library officials, including Library Director Thomas W. Galante, and instructors from HAP and participating students, to comment on the program's merits. "These funds ensure the continuation of a valuable after school opportunity for our students - the Homework Assistance Program, which provides tutoring and academic guidance, as well as a daily planned activity in a safe environment under adult supervision," Rep. Crowley said. "Langston Hughes Library has remained an important resource for Corona and Queens, and I am pleased that Congress recognized the importance of providing the funds necessary for this program that greatly benefits our children." (from State News Service) 

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Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo
P
10/05/2006
Negative Impact: New York state is extending significant dollars to libraries for capital improvements, but Buffalo & Erie County Public Library officials believe the rules attached to the funds are so restrictive that local projects might not benefit from the offer. The library trustees, in formal comments to Albany, are urging changes to address what they call the unreasonable nature of the cost estimation requirement and the short time frame for compliance with the proposed rules. At stake is the $664,117 local share of a one-time $14 million funding mechanism included in the current state budget to supplement funding for library construction projects across the state. The library trustees contend that it will be difficult to meet the Dec. 29 deadline for project proposals because the plans must contain assurances that matching funds are secured and contractor bid estimates are for the full cost of the project. "Buffalo and Erie County Public Library's economically disadvantage communities and their backlogged projects are caught in a double 'Catch 22' resulting from the compressed time frame - not having enough time to secure funding and not having enough time to compete the bid process," libary Director Michael Mahaney, on behalf of the trustees, wrote to State Librarian Janet Welch. The situation favors projects either currently under way or well in development over new projects, according to the trustees. At least two proposed local projects would be ineligible under the current rules: a $2 million escalator replacement and asbestos abatement at the central library and a $285,000 restoration project at the North Park branch. Specifically, the trustees are requesting the state accept an architect's estimated project cost in lieu of a contractor bid or quote. If the state would accept an estimate, then the library board could approach the Erie County Legislature, assuring the leaders that the project would have matching funds, said Kenneth Stone, library system CFO. "It would be helpful to get the county to approve and do the project," he said. The trustees also are asking the state to extend the filing deadlines for the regular library capital improvement program. The state annually sets aside $800,000, of which the local share is $39,755. As proposed, the regular program follows about the same timeline as the supplemental program. If the libraries were unable to fully utilize the supplemental program, they would likewise be unable to utilize the regular program, compounding their disadvantage, the trustees wrote. (from Buffalo Business First)  

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Tompkins County Public Library Ithaca
P
09/30/2006
Negative Impact: The committee discussed at length, but failed, by a vote of 3-11, to restore $88,000 in funding to the Tompkins County Public Library. Supporters maintained the County has responsibility for and should not renege on its long-standing commitment to the library. Opponents countered the library would still receive increased county support, despite the reduction, and suggested that the City and Town of Ithaca should contribute more to its operation. A motion to move from one-time to permanent funding of $50,000 each year to purchase books for the library collection also failed, by a vote of 6-8  

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Albany
P
09/13/2006
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Positive Impact: Voters this past week gave thumbs up to a $1.5 million budget for the East Greenbush Community Library. The total budget of $1,507,983 passed by a vote of 283-68 and represents a 3.5 percent increase in spending but a 2.44 percent decrease in the tax rate. The vote was held Thursday, at the library. The tax rate is lower due to some economic belt tightening measures and an increased assessment of the town's tax base, which is now valued at over $400 million, said library director Debbie Shoup. The new library rate is $3.14 per $1,000 down from $3.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That means for the average house assessed at $50,000, the tax decrease is $3.94. Based on that figure, that means the average library tax per household will decrease from $161.07 to $157.13, officials have said. Voters also cast ballots for the election of two trustees to serve on the library board. Margaret Donnelly, a lawyer and former accountant who was appointed last year to a one-year term was the top vote getter with 305 and will serve a five-year term. William Colgan, a retired technology specialist who has experience working with school districts, received 280 votes and will serve a two-year term. The proposed budget includes money to cover $292,625 in debt service on the library building. Under the operating budget the library would cover increases in natural gas and electricity costs and the cost of additional computer equipment. (from The Times Union)  

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Rochester
P
09/05/2006
Negative Impact: Funding for Saturday library hours and the annual town summer celebration will be gone when Supervisor Ralph Esposito gives his initial budget to the Town Board later this month, with a savings of $58,000. The cuts were the result of recommendations made by residents in surveys sent out by the town. Esposito looked through 2,039 surveys in which residents suggested which town services should be kept, expanded, reduced or eliminated. A majority of residents said they would rather see services cut than have to pay an extra $60 a year in taxes to maintain all town services. With a tax rate of $6.37 per $1,000 assessed value, residents pay an average of $552 per year in town taxes. "People like the summer celebration, but they believed it was a lot of money for a four-hour celebration and a little too much to pay at a time during our financial difficulties," said Esposito. "And it's nice to have Saturday hours at the library, but I think that residents during the week can get into the library sometime after 10 a.m. and before 9 p.m." The town sent surveys to 9,525 homes in early August, listing 10 nonmandated services that the town provides. Twenty-one percent of those who received the surveys responded. The summer celebration, which costs $23,000 annually and includes fireworks, was the only service the majority of residents preferred to eliminate. And 47 percent of those responding believed it was time to eliminate or reduce library operation hours on Saturdays. Eighty percent of respondents wanted to keep or expand the police department while 18 percent wanted reductions or elimination. "Even though we have a high senior population who has a hard time paying taxes, they saw that the police department was something that they did not want to part with," said Esposito. The resident survey was one of the first steps that Gates officials took after a harshly worded comptroller's audit in July accused them of allowing the town to sink deeper into debt without coming up with a specific plan. Gates went from a $1.7 million surplus to a $2.8 million deficit in its combined general and highway funds from 2000 to 2005. (from Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)  

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Albany Public Library Albany
P
08/29/2006
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Positive Impact: The Albany Public Library (APL), NY, is moving forward with a $65 million strategy to replace the central library with an 85,000 square-foot facility, a nearly 50 percent increase, build two new branches, and renovate two other facilities. If trustees accept the plan next month, the measure could be placed on a December ballot. The improvements would increase the current tax rate about $1 per $1000 assessed property value over 30 years, almost doubling the current rate of $1.11. APL director Jeff Cannell said that Albany remains a community of neighborhoods, with 85 percent of those polled preferring a branch located within one mile of their home. An earlier plan for larger but less accessible libraries was nixed. The new branches would be between 9000 and 14,000 square feet, with separately accessible community meeting rooms, disabled accessibility, parking and green space, and expanded collections and public access computers. (from Library Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Poughkeepsie
P
08/24/2006
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Positive Impact: Poughkeepsie – Senator Steve Saland of Poughkeepsie, chairman of the New York State Senate Education Committee, the New York Library Association and directors from the Mid-Hudson Library System Wednesday announced funds the senator secured for technology and capital improvements for Dutchess and Columbia County libraries. Saland was able to help local libraries achieve their technology goals by delivering $238,200 to 16 libraries throughout Dutchess County. § Blodgett Memorial Library $13,118 § Clinton Community Library $10,171 § East fishkill Community Library $20,059 § Greater Poughkeepsie Library District $41,622 § Grinnell Library Association $20,373 § Howland Public Library $20,219 § Hyde Park Free Library $16,118 § LaGrange Association $15,174 § Millbrook Free Library $10,506 § Morton Memorial Library $ 8,474 § Pleasant Valley Free Library $12,488 § Red Hook Public Library $ 9,160 § Staatsburg Library District $10,005 § Stanford Free Library $ 9,957 § Starr Library $11,890 § Tivoli Free Library $ 8,866 Saland was also able to help local libraries achieve their technology goals by delivering $110,800 to 11 libraries throughout Columbia County. § Chatham Public Libraries (includes Canaan) $12,603 § Claverack Free Library $10,529 § Germantown Library $ 9,258 § Hudson Area Association Library $13,696 § Kinderhook Memorial Library $11,701 § Livingston Free Library $ 8,562 § New Lebanon Library $ 9,458 § North Chatham Free Library $ 8,731 § Philmont Public Library $ 9,012 § Roeliff Jansen Community Library $ 9,132 § Valatie Free Library $ 9,118 (from MidHudson News)  

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Buffalo
P
08/20/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Long-running tensions between the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and its main fund-raising arm are expected to ease with the transfer of Library Foundation assets to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Adding the Library Foundation's $1.6 million endowment to the $135 million now managed by the Community Foundation will reduce the Library Foundation's operating costs and yield better investment results -- to the library system's future benefit -- both sides predict. "You'll see a big change," said Morton H. Stovroff, a library trustee emeritus. "When the money rolls in, nobody complains." The Library Foundation was formed in 1991 to develop and augment programs and services for city and county library branches. But from the start there was disagreement over how money raised by the nonprofit foundation should be spent. Library managers championed things like hands-on educational programs for children, while foundation leaders were more interested in displaying items from the extensive rare books collection. Stovroff, a retired Realtor who worked with the late Roland R. Benzow to set up the Library Foundation 15 years ago, said money always has been at the heart of the organizations' differences. Stovroff, who spends most of the year in Florida, was "shocked" to learn during a recent briefing on the asset transfer that the foundation endowment, which was started with $1 million in private funds held by the library, had grown so little. "The guys who were managing the investments did a lousy job," he said. The dispute spilled into the open in February when library administrators, who had been forced to close 16 branches and trim hours and circulation because of county funding cuts, complained that the system had received no proceeds from Library Foundation investments or fund-raising campaigns in a few recent years. The feud culminated with the Library Board deciding to start its own development office. And the foundation, under new President Victor Rice, began to explore joining forces with the Community Foundation. The resulting arrangement, approved in principle by the foundation board, will help the organization assist the library "more efficiently and cost-effectively by taking advantage of the Community Foundation's administrative, legal and fiscal expertise," Rice said. Anne M. Leary, Library Foundation executive director, called the move part of an "evolving process" designed to better serve the library system. In the same spirit, the foundation has created a process through which all libraries in the far-flung system can apply for grant funding. Leary officially resigned in November but stayed on to oversee the foundation's restructuring, which is expected to include a reduction in the board's size from the current 14 members. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Queens Borough Public Library Queens
P
08/14/2006
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Positive Impact: Queens Borough Public Library (QBPL), NY, has become the first public library ever to be named a resource library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NLM). QBPL will offer special programming and gain access to additional resources usually available to university medical school libraries. As a resource library, QBPL will benefit from a five-year, $7.3 million contract for community outreach programs and partnerships with medical providers. Alfredo Piedra, QBPL's medical librarian, said that additional programming will begin later this year, mostly at QBPL's central library, where a consumer health center was launched earlier this year. QBPL already has access to the NLM DOCLINE interlibrary loan system and formal partnerships with Queens Health Network, American Cancer Society, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, as well as relationships with many healthcare providers and community-based agencies. (from Library Journal) 

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NY
P
08/07/2006
Negative Impact: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn knows the problem - when budgets run dry, it's city libraries that get hit first, squeezing their ability to keep their doors open. But now - with weekly hours at the city's 209 branch libraries 30% shorter than in many other big cities in the U.S., and often 40% shorter than surrounding communities - Quinn hopes to be part of the solution to a shame detailed in yesterday's Daily News. "There was a time in our city when we had more hours," said Quinn, referring to the days a generation ago, when branch libraries were open 50 hours a week, a number now cut to 38.4, and the city's central libraries were open as long as 87 hours a week, compared with today's 60. "We need to change the thinking of government," Quinn told The News, "to stop looking at libraries as expendable and more as places that should be thought of as untouchable, because they are that important to neighborhoods." It won't be easy, given the many challenges that have long kept the city's three library systems - the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Borough Public Library and the New York Public Library, which serve Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island - near the bottom of the municipal priority list. Although big foundations like to purchase new computers or touch up the occasional reading room, they are not inclined to pony up the $40 million to $50 million a year that some believe would be needed to significantly expand library hours. Some have talked in the past of devoting more of the state's lottery funds - now earmarked for education - to libraries. But that would only mean less for city schools, an idea few seem willing to support. Others have talked about creating a checkoff on tax forms, allowing filers to donate money to libraries every April. But there already are checkoffs - and too many may dilute the benefits to other worthwhile causes. Finally, with annual budget talks between the mayor and the City Council just concluded for this fiscal year and not due to begin again for months, it is unlikely that City Hall will revisit the issue anytime soon. But some of Quinn's own members are already pressing to have branch libraries opened seven days a week with more consistent hours. As it is, only about one-quarter to one-half of city branch libraries are open a sixth day, and then only for as little as four hours. "Six days per week should be the norm, not the goal, and seven days a week should be the goal," said Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), head of the Council's new subcommittee on libraries. In the end, any increase will likely depend on the ability of the three libraries to make their case, and on the public's insistence for longer hours. "It's really about the taxpayers of New York letting their mayor and the governor know that they want their libraries open more," said Michael Borges, executive director of the New York Library Association. (from Daily News)  

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NY
P
08/06/2006
Negative Impact: It is the shame of the city: libraries that are closed at all hours of the day, robbing New Yorkers of access to a kingdom of knowledge. Branch hours in the three systems that make up the city's libraries - the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Borough Public Library and the New York Public Library, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island - now average just 38 hours per week. Go to the Throgs Neck branch in the Bronx on Thursday and you'll be disappointed: It's closed. Come back the next morning and it's still closed - all the way until 1 p.m., and even then you had better hurry: Closing time is five hours away. And that branch is hardly the exception. Fewer than half of the city's libraries are open six days a week, and then only with staggered hours that keep doors open for as little as five hours on some days. That's a far cry from the 58 hours per week that readers in Chicago can peruse their branch library shelves, or the 56 hours per week in Miami, or the 49 hours in Los Angeles - or in most other big cities in the nation. Drive a few miles outside the five boroughs and you'll find the same or greater differences - 58 hours a week in Long Island's Port Washington, 64 hours in working-class Yonkers, even 76 hours a week in places like Plainview, L.I. "I think it means New York City doesn't focus on libraries as much as other cities," said Jamel Burgess, 15, a student at Evander Childs High School in the Bronx as he clacked away on a computer at the Throgs Neck branch last week. New York's libraries are among the city's crown jewels - spanning 209 branches in all five boroughs, housing some 65 million books and periodicals. Keep them open longer and people will come. Demand - as measured by the number of books loaned every year - is climbing steadily in all three systems, especially in immigrant-heavy Queens, according to the latest Mayor's Management Report. The real story, however, is told not by statistics but by the lines of people that now snake outside many city libraries before they open, a testament to both the high quality services they provide and the few hours they are open. Talk to those in line and it is clear that libraries remain many things to many people: a resource for scholars, an air-conditioned haven for the elderly, a wondrous story land for toddlers, a gateway for immigrants trying to learn English or find a job. And all of it for free. "The demand," said Ronald Chan, supervisor of the jam-packed Chatham Square branch in Manhattan's Chinatown, "is bottomless." As he spoke, Chan pulled from the shelf a copy of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," written in Chinese and English, and pointed to a line of people waiting patiently for a chair in the library's crowded basement room. "This is the spiritual food they need," said Chan, who has worked in the branch for more than 30 years. It's a hunger that stretches across all five boroughs. "The library should be open every day of the week at least, if not a lot of hours every day," complained Pardeep Kumar, 15, as he checked out books with his two younger brothers at the Astoria branch in Queens. For those who work full-time jobs, the branch libraries have become almost irrelevant, since most close at 6 p.m. and stay open to 8 p.m. only one night a week. "I work full-time, so the hours ..." said Patricita Gomez, an employee at NYU Medical Center, as she caught a rare moment at the Tremont branch in the Bronx last week. "It's too early to close, especially if you're coming from downtown." Library officials concede that hours are not what they could be, but they say they hope to push for real increases next year, now that the mayor has promised not to threaten libraries with cuts again. "We look forward to working with the city to move toward our shared goal of opening all libraries at least six days a week," said Paul LeClerc, president of the New York Public Library. In fact, city libraries have scored some minor victories recently. For the first time in years, for instance, Mayor Bloomberg promised last month to remove the city's three systems from his annual list of threatened cuts, and weekly hours have inched up an hour or two per week since the lean years after 9/11. In addition to small increases from the city, the state came through with about $8 million in increased aid, mostly for construction. But the increases only brought the libraries back to where they were before 9/11, when deep cuts rippled through the system. After 9/11, Queens alone lost 130 staffers whose jobs have still not been replaced. And if you go back to the early 1970s, the city's branches were open an average of 50 hours a week, compared with today's 38. Manhattan's central library was open a whopping 87 hours - a number that has now slipped to 60 hours, the bare minimum allowed by state law for cities of more than 1 million people. "New York City needs to do more to support its public libraries," said Michael Borges, executive director of the New York Library Association, a statewide advocacy group. "Small steps have been taken, but we need a great leap forward in terms of public funding." In fact, the city's contribution to libraries has gone down by some $33 million since 2000 when adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis conducted by the city's Independent Budget Office at the request of the Daily News. Aides to Mayor Bloomberg argue that comparing the city's branch hours with other cities is unfair because New York has three times more branches than, say, Chicago or Los Angeles. They point out that across the city, New York's 209 branches are open for more hours cumulatively than those of any city. But they also refuse to make any promises. "Mayor Bloomberg has said again and again that you can't balance a $53 billion budget without making tough choices," said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser. "If you want to expand service, you have to say what tax you are going to raise or what other service you are going to cut." The budgetary math makes some sense, but then there is another equation: In a 24/7 city like New York, how can its libraries be open 7½ /5? When philanthropist Andrew Carnegie offered to build New York a network of libraries in 1901, he made one simple demand - that they "be accessible at all reasonable hours." In the decades since, the city has upheld that promise in fits and starts - although hours have remained basically flat in the last dozen years or so, even as the city's population and economy have boomed since 9/11. In 1970, the fabled New York Public Library's central library on Fifth Ave. was open 87 hours a week, providing a refuge that had persevered since the Depression. Then came the fiscal crisis of the 1970s and hours were slashed, with many branches shuttered as many as five days a week. It was former Mayor David Dinkins who, facing reelection in 1993, pushed to return service to five days a week, and it has hobbled along - vacillating between five and six days a week - ever since. Today, branch libraries are open 38 hours per week on average, far less than any private bookstore, and less than libraries in many other major cities. "Thirty-eight hours is certainly not something you would strive for," said Susan Hildreth, president of the Public Library Association, the nation's largest library group, and California's official state librarian. "We need to have our library systems open as much as possible," Hildreth added. "And I would hope that a city as diverse and committed to education as New York could do that." Libraries in New York are actually run by three independent systems - the Brooklyn Public Library, the Queens Borough Public Library and the New York Public Library, the latter serving Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx. But the three systems share one common thread: Almost all their money is provided each year by the city, making them highly susceptible to its boom-or-bust economy. In all, there are 209 branches, four research libraries, one library for the blind, 65 million books and periodicals, and two stone lions, Patience and Fortitude, serenely watching over the New York Public Library's grand headquarters at Fifth Ave. and 42nd St. Together, the libraries greet an estimated 36 million visitors and loan out some 49 million books every year - enough to fill 1,200 miles of shelves. (from Daily News) 

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Greater Binghamton
P
07/28/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: EDITORIAL Vital assets Community libraries could use your help As the stories of flood damage unfold across the Tier, the toll of loss climbs. Recent stories have highlighted the costly damage done to school districts, from losing most of a fleet of school buses in Hancock to $1 million in damage to Union-Endicott High School's building and sports facilities. Along the lines of education comes word of another type of flood victim: public libraries. Floodwaters in the basement of the Sidney Memorial Public Library damaged the computer server, electric panels, rooms and supplies. At the Deposit Free Library, water entering the first-floor level destroyed more than 1,000 books. These two libraries sustained about $100,000 in combined losses. Hardest hit was the William B. Ogden Free Library in Walton. The lower level was decimated. Lost were 120 years of microfilm (and a reader) from the Walton Reader newspaper, computers, more than 12,000 books, the historical room and a children's area. Director Judie Reina estimates the damage was at least $250,000. At a time when budgets are tight, replacing these losses will be difficult. But you can help. The best course of action is to send a monetary flood-relief donation to the libraries affected. No amount you can send is too small. Healthy libraries are a valuable asset to a recovering community. * Deposit Free Library, 159 Front St., Deposit, N.Y. 13754. Phone: 467-2577 * Sidney Memorial Public Library, 8 River St., Sidney, N.Y. 13838-1110. Phone: 563-8021 * William B. Ogden Free Library, 42 Gardiner Place, Walton, N.Y. 13856-1399. Phone: 865-5929  

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Westerchester County
P
07/26/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: The debate over whether to change the name of the public library to include Rye Brook rages on, threatening a long-standing agreement between the villages to share library services and delaying a crucial renovation project. The controversy hinges on whether to change the name to the Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library in exchange for millions of dollars in funding from Rye Brook. At stake are Rye Brook's roughly $350,000 annual taxpayer contributions to the library and $600,000 it is offering to pay for a planned $1.8 million renovation to bring the 80-year-old building up to code. As the condition of the library continues to deteriorate, a vocal group of Port Chester residents has rallied relentlessly against the name change, and the proposal failed to get enough votes this month from the village Board of Trustees. Meanwhile, Rye Brook Mayor Lawrence Rand is threatening to go elsewhere for library services if Port Chester rejects the agreement in a revote. "If they vote no, we will be left no real choice but to consider alternatives," Rand said. "Perhaps these services can even be obtained more cost-effectively than the present arrangement or any future commitment we would be prepared to make." Leaders from the neighboring villages recently hashed out a proposal to change the name of the library in exchange for Rye Brook increasing its share of the library's taxpayer funding from 30 percent to 35 percent. The villages also would equally share the cost of the renovation with the library. The intermunicipal agreement would last 10 years, and the villages would consider creating a library district at the end of that term. If Rye Brook backs out of the library altogether, Port Chester taxpayers would have to shoulder more than $1 million a year in operating costs alone. Nevertheless, a group of Port Chester residents is staunchly opposed to the name change, saying Rye Brook is trying to change the fabric of the village. "Then, it's no longer our library, then it's Port Chester and Rye Brook's library," said Bea Conetta, perhaps the most outspoken opponent of the name change. "This has been our library for 129 years. It's way above money. To me, it's part of our past." Conetta said she would support posting a sign over the door that said "servicing Port Chester and Rye Brook" in exchange for keeping the name intact. "I do hope that Rye Brook reconsiders and continues to be a part of our library because they're welcome to be a part of our library," she said. "They're just not welcome to a name change." The proposal failed to obtain the four votes necessary to enact it at a July 5 village board meeting. Both Democratic trustees voted against it and only five of the seven board members were present. Democratic Trustee Dennis Pilla, who voted against the proposal, instead supports creating a shared library district, with an elected board and annual villagewide votes on the operating budget. Funding would be divided equally among households in a joint tax district. "Of course, with a library district, it would be appropriate to rename the library system to reflect this joint `Port Chester-Rye Brook Library District,' " Pilla said in a statement. Port Chester Mayor Gerald Logan, however, said he is reluctant to create a new taxing district amid the current economic climate in the village, where residents have been slapped with a series of double-digit tax increases in recent years. "To go to the public again to create another taxing district, I think the timing would be absolutely horrible," he said. Logan added that the proposed intermunicipal agreement provides for discussions on a library district in 10 years. The mayor said he plans to bring the current proposal back to the board for a revote when all seven members are present. "We worked hard to come up with this and I think it's fair to both communities and the library," he said. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library System NY
P
07/24/2006
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Positive Impact: Five-day service at New York City’s three library systems has been ensured, as this year’s $40.7 million automatically will be included in future budgets. This development ends an annual back-and-forth process in which the mayor would propose cuts in library funding only to have them restored by the city council. The budget will support service at the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Borough Public Library, and the Branch Libraries of New York Public Library. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Morris Park Branch Library Bronx
P
07/21/2006
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Positive Impact: A ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony will mark the opening of The New York Public Library's new $2.4 million Morris Park Branch Library, on Friday, July 21, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. Located on 985 Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx, the new Morris Park Branch Library is The New York Public Library's 35th branch in the borough, 86th within the NYPL system, and the first new branch in nine years. The contemporary design of the exterior, with its aluminum and granite walls and dramatic red steel canopy, sets the building apart from the rest of the neighborhood and announces the library's presence.  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York City Library System NY
P
07/13/2006
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Positive Impact: Ending an annual back-and-forth in which the New York City mayor would propose cuts in library funding only to have the cuts restored by the city Council, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn agreed to make five-day service at the city's three library systems part of the baseline budget. Council Member Vincent Gentile, chair of the Council's Subcommittee on Libraries, made sure that library funding, this year $40.7 million, will be automatically included in future budgets. "This is a big step for libraries in New York City," said Gentile's spokesman, Eric Kuo. The budget will support service at the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Borough Public Library, and the Branch Libraries of the New York Public Library. (from Library Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System Buffalo
P
07/05/2006
Negative Impact: After the 2005 budget crisis faced by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System, many patrons have been left wondering what the future holds for their library. "The (budget) crisis so far has come in waves," said Riverside Librarian Raya Then. "The 2004 budget impacted (service in) 2005. We won't know anything about the future until the October budget is released." Kenmore Library patron Teresa Leone, 16, has noticed a difference since the budget crisis. "Now the hours of the Kenmore library are more restricted, and I have to be sure to check the schedule before I go." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
07/03/2006
Negative Impact: Responsibility should change for operation of vital public library A state bill to transfer control of the Mount Vernon Public Library from the Board of Education to city government stalled as the Legislature ended its session. So a question mark continues to hang over the library's future, at least for now. Historically, the city has supported the library out of its own budget. While it can be argued that the city has been an absentee landlord - the air conditioning system broke down in 1988 and went unrepaired until this year - the financially hard-pressed, high-needs school district has hardly been in a position to do better. Asking the voters to support both a school budget and a separate budget for the library would be risky. If the city will make a commitment to adequately fund the library and its upkeep, it would make sense to let it continue to pay for the library by giving it the formal responsibility to do so. The need for extensive repairs - the roof leaked so badly that parts of the library were closed to the public at times - brought the dilemma into the open a few years ago. Technically, the school district owns the building. This put the city in the position of paying for repairs to a building it does not own. Regardless, the City Council approved more than $3 million in bonds to pay for roof repairs and beyond. The library is classified by the state Board of Regents as a small-city school district library. This means the library should carry its own tax authority and budget. It also means that the library budget should be put before the public for a vote, just as the school budget is. And library trustees should be elected, not appointed by the school board, as they are now. Mount Vernon has been trying to avoid the contentious debate that occurred in New Rochelle in 2002 and 2003 when that city realized that its library was the responsibility of the school district, not the city. The bill to give Mount Vernon library's governance to the city was sponsored by Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, a Mount Vernon Democrat representing parts of Mount Vernon and Yonkers in the 87th District. Letting the city govern the library would give at least some financial stability. Would that be true of the library ifit carried its own tax? While Mount Vernon school budget votes have been a hard sell in some past years, recent budgets have passed, and city voters just approved a large $17.5 million bond to renovate several schools. Would they not also approve an annual budget for their library out of pride that it is the central library in the Westchester Library System? Perhaps not. As Pretlow notes, "School taxes are frightfully high already. To add more would just be overburdening." Good point. Still, there is much to be proud of. Not only does Mount Vernon have the largest library collection in Westchester, it is the last remaining library in southern Westchester built by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900s. In addition to repairs, there have been other recent improvements. The library board has a majority of new members. The Friends of the Library group has been reconstituted and a Library Foundation established to raise money. The computer system is being redesigned. More adult and children's programs have been added. If the library were run by the city, the library board would answer to the City Council, and the mayor would appoint trustees. Mayor Ernest Davis and the council support a city takeover. The library board has not taken a position, although board President Mary Ellen Forte said Mount Vernon residents must be able to vote on the issue in a local referendum. The Library Foundation board is neutral on governance. We agree on a local referendum, but state permission is the key if governance is to be changed. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
NY
P
06/30/2006
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Positive Impact: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has agreed to “baseline” funding for the library and two other programs, making them permanent allocations in the city’s annual budget, according to the June 28 New York Daily News. In the past, libraries have been a part of what pundits have dubbed the “budget dance,” in which the mayor would propose cuts that the city council and library leaders would negotiate to restore. “We’re sending a message that those programs will not, as a matter of course, be cut every year,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the June 28 Staten Island Advance. The mayor had proposed more than $40 million in cuts from the city’s three public library systems. The $52.9-billion FY 2007 budget passed June 30 by the city council retains those funds, ensuring the libraries stay open at least five days per week. The city currently has a multi-billion surplus that officials say will be used to balance the FY 2007 budget. “I think we’ve come up with the monies that we need to take this city forward, to help those who are really in need, and at the same time, to be cognizant of the fact that the good times aren’t going to be here forever,” Bloomberg said in the Daily News. The mayor had proposed midyear budget cuts to the city’s libraries January 31, but they were rescinded by the end of February. (from American Libraries  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York
P
06/18/2006
Negative Impact: MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG has had more to say about the importance of reading than any New York City mayor in living memory. By backing tougher standardized tests and cracking down on ''social promotion,'' Mr. Bloomberg has made a political issue out of the teaching of reading in the city's public schools. But the mayor's concern about reading seems to end at the schoolhouse door, because he has proposed a 2007 budget that offers starvation rations for New York's great but financially embattled public library system. The mayor's budget, under debate in hearings before the City Council this month, calls for cuts totaling more than $42 million in operating expenses for libraries throughout the five boroughs. The biggest hit of $19.8 million would be taken by the New York Public Library, which includes 85 branches and central libraries in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island as well as the crown jewels of the system, four research institutions that include the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, with its familiar stone lions, at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The Brooklyn and Queens Public Libraries (which are separate from the New York Public) stand to lose $11 million and $11.4 million, respectively. Not to worry, City Hall insiders say. The Council always restores most of the mayor's library cuts. But the executive budget sets the baseline for negotiations over who gets what. By low-balling libraries against the backdrop of a $3.4 billion budget surplus, Mayor Bloomberg is making a disturbing statement about the city's priorities. The budget includes $21 million to hire more officers and civilian employees for the New York Police Department, $18 million for the Department of Small Business Services and the city's tourism office and $30 million -- double last year's amount -- to provide incentives for companies making movies in the city. All of these programs surely deserve support, but there is something awry when city officials bury cuts for libraries in the fine print of budget documents while proudly announcing their eagerness to fork over more money to entertainment conglomerates so that movies like ''The Nanny Diaries'' will be filmed in New York City. Movies provide temporary jobs today, but libraries help produce literate citizens fit for the jobs of the future. Every New Yorker should be ashamed that libraries in Phoenix are open 66 hours a week, while none of the five boroughs is able to keep its libraries open even 40 hours a week. The New York Public Library's relatively modest goal of opening the doors of all branches six days and 42 hours a week would require the Council not only to restore Mr. Bloomberg's cuts but also add $16.7 million to operating expenses. Libraries are often closed at the times when children and working parents need them most -- in the evenings and for much of Saturday and Sunday. In neighborhoods where many first-generation immigrant parents speak English poorly or not at all, libraries are a cultural gateway to English. They cater to children whose love of reading and thirst for learning cannot be satisfied in hard-pressed neighborhood schools or measured by standardized tests. For some children, they are also the only source of free computer time for completing homework assignments. The library system is the only public institution that fosters both high-level scholarship and basic literacy. The Humanities and Social Sciences Library is one of the premier research institutions in the world -- and it is more accessible to the public than any other library of its stature. One obstacle to public awareness about the needs of New York's libraries is the unusually large role played by private philanthropy in financing the research institutions, which also include the Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Science, Industry and Business Library. About two-thirds of the money for these libraries comes from private sources and many people mistakenly assume that a similar flow of private money is available to the neighborhood branch libraries. But it is easier to rally donors to support renovations of famous buildings than to keep library lights on in neighborhoods invisible to most wealthy New Yorkers. If Mayor Bloomberg is really serious about making sure our children learn to read, he should raise library budgets, not cut them. Public libraries are a public responsibility. (from The New York Times)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Waterford Public Library Waterford
P
06/08/2006
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Positive Impact: Voters approved a $259,585 budget Wednesday for the Waterford Public Library by a vote of 85 to 6 for the 2006-07 fiscal year. Two votes were invalid. The budget increases spending by 2.3 percent and raises the library tax rate by a penny. It is $5,930 more than the $253,655 budget for 2005-06 approved by Waterford-Halfmoon School District voters last year. The tax rate will increase 0.67 percent, or 1 cent, to $1.61 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. A home assessed at $100,000 would pay an annual library tax of $161. Voters also elected three members to the library board of trustees. They are Joanne McLeod, Annmarie Morrissey and Carl Benoit. The top vote-getter, who was not identified, will be elected to a five-year term, while the next two will complete the two years remaining in the unexpired five-year terms. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Tomkins Cove
P
06/08/2006
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Positive Impact: Voters approved a $187,687 budget last night for the public library. Seven people cast ballots for the 2006-07 budget during the annual meeting at the library at 419 Liberty Drive, and the budget was unanimously approved. Library manager Janet Lukas said yesterday that she was happy about the outcome. "I'm very pleased that the budget passed," Lukas said. "We look forward to an exciting new year." The $187,687 budget, which is up $6,802, or 3.76 percent, from the current $180,885 budget, includes a salary increase for Lukas, who recently received a master's degree in library science from the University of Southern Mississippi online program. The degree qualifies her as a librarian, she said. Her new salary will be $28,000, up $8,000 from this year's $20,000. The increase was proposed partly because of her new degree and partly because of additional hours the library board asked her to work, Lukas said. Lukas, who currently works 25 hours a week, will work 35 hours a week starting in the summer, because the library plans to extend its hours on a trial basis. The library opens at 3 p.m. weekdays and at 1 p.m. Saturdays. The exact starting date hasn't been set, but no later than July 1, the library will open at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Whether to continue the extended hours would depend on the residents' demand, Lukas has said. Residents borrowed 5,218 books from the library during fiscal 2004-05; they borrowed 5,729 other materials, mainly audiovisual items. To respond to the popularity, the library will spend additional money for new books on compact discs and movies. The approved budget allocated $8,500 for audiovisual items, up $1,000 from this year's budget. To come up with the $1,000, the budget for buying books will be decreased to $20,000 from $21,000. The cost of fuel and utilities will be $2,000 more than in the current budget, and spending for employee benefits, such as the retirement program and Social Security, will increase to $9,787, up $1,802, or 22.6 percent, from this year's $7,985. Because the library expects to get additional income, mainly from overdue-book fines, the money to be raised by property taxes will rise by $1,802, for a tax increase of 1.14 percent. (from The Journal News) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/23/2006
Negative Impact: Hamlet property owners would pay an average of about $243 for the library under a proposal from the board of trustees. The $1.87 million budget is $81,648, or about 4.6 percent, more than this year's budget. Carolyn Johnson, library director, said the increases were driven by contractual obligations, such as salaries and health care costs, and for rising energy and automation costs. "The budget is pretty much the same," Johnson said Wednesday of the current plan. "We're just trying to maintain programs." The tax rate is $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a home assessed at $180,000, Orangetown's average, the increase would be about $6.41 more than this year's if the plan is approved. Trustee Henry Borawski is running unopposed for his third, five-year term. Trustees are not paid. A public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the library, 80 Franklin Ave. The largest part of the budget - $1.35 million - is for personnel and benefits. Raises account for $50,000 of the increase and medical insurance $13,715. Workers compensation insurance more than doubled to $13,640. Gas and electric expenses are up to $60,000 and automation for computers is up $5,000 to $50,000. Although most other lines remained the same, the library cut its contracted services and equipment rental contracts by $3,000 and reduced its expenditure to the state retirement fund by $5,000 to $80,000. No programs were cut, Johnson said. "We attempted to maintain the programs we have," she said, "and we have shifted some of the expenses." Anne Brebbia, president of the board, said most of the increases were out of the board's control. "We've kept it manageable for many years," Brebbia said. "We really worked hard to make sure it stayed within the constraints of people. For the services that we have, it's a very responsible budget." Harriet Basile uses the library for its collection of books. The Pearl River woman said, in general, too many costs were rising. When told of the increase, she said she hoped trustees would keep a close eye on expenses. "I can live with that as long as it doesn't double," she said of the cost to taxpayers. "Everything keeps going up, it's very difficult." Don Sinque was using the Internet last week and said the library offers value. "It's good for the kids," he said. "It's worth the money; $240 isn't a lot of money." Johnson said there are about 11,000 library card holders; more than 87,000 books; close to 9,000 audio/visual materials and more than 228,000 items borrowed per year. With its inventory, programs and services, the director said the cost to taxpayers was modest. "It's 53 cents per month," Johnson said. "That's really a bargain." The public can vote on the budget from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 6 at the library. By the numbers Proposed budget: $1,872,136 Current budget: $1,790,488 Spending increase: $81,648 Proposed tax rate: $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/23/2006
Negative Impact: Hamlet property owners would pay an average of about $243 for the library under a proposal from the board of trustees. The $1.87 million budget is $81,648, or about 4.6 percent, more than this year's budget. Carolyn Johnson, library director, said the increases were driven by contractual obligations, such as salaries and health care costs, and for rising energy and automation costs. "The budget is pretty much the same," Johnson said Wednesday of the current plan. "We're just trying to maintain programs." The tax rate is $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a home assessed at $180,000, Orangetown's average, the increase would be about $6.41 more than this year's if the plan is approved. Trustee Henry Borawski is running unopposed for his third, five-year term. Trustees are not paid. A public hearing is set for 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the library, 80 Franklin Ave. The largest part of the budget - $1.35 million - is for personnel and benefits. Raises account for $50,000 of the increase and medical insurance $13,715. Workers compensation insurance more than doubled to $13,640. Gas and electric expenses are up to $60,000 and automation for computers is up $5,000 to $50,000. Although most other lines remained the same, the library cut its contracted services and equipment rental contracts by $3,000 and reduced its expenditure to the state retirement fund by $5,000 to $80,000. No programs were cut, Johnson said. "We attempted to maintain the programs we have," she said, "and we have shifted some of the expenses." Anne Brebbia, president of the board, said most of the increases were out of the board's control. "We've kept it manageable for many years," Brebbia said. "We really worked hard to make sure it stayed within the constraints of people. For the services that we have, it's a very responsible budget." Harriet Basile uses the library for its collection of books. The Pearl River woman said, in general, too many costs were rising. When told of the increase, she said she hoped trustees would keep a close eye on expenses. "I can live with that as long as it doesn't double," she said of the cost to taxpayers. "Everything keeps going up, it's very difficult." Don Sinque was using the Internet last week and said the library offers value. "It's good for the kids," he said. "It's worth the money; $240 isn't a lot of money." Johnson said there are about 11,000 library card holders; more than 87,000 books; close to 9,000 audio/visual materials and more than 228,000 items borrowed per year. With its inventory, programs and services, the director said the cost to taxpayers was modest. "It's 53 cents per month," Johnson said. "That's really a bargain." The public can vote on the budget from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 6 at the library. By the numbers Proposed budget: $1,872,136 Current budget: $1,790,488 Spending increase: $81,648 Proposed tax rate: $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Albany
P
05/14/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: V oters in Albany will have two dollars-and-cents choices to make on Tuesday. One involves a proposed school budget of nearly $170 million for 2006-07. The other, separate choice is whether to approve the Albany Public Library's proposed 2007 budget of $4,359,600. We recommend "yes" votes on both. The Albany school budget vote is just one of many that will take place throughout the Capital Region Tuesday. But it is unique nonetheless, and not just because the plan calls for a 7.2 percent tax increase, compared with 3.9 percent last year. Ordinarily, such a significant increase would prompt questions about a district's spending habits and financial management, and whether the school board had worked hard enough to contain costs and reduce the burden on taxpayers. But Albany's public school budget, unlike those of surrounding districts, reflects the city's unusually large concentration of charter schools, which siphon off the amount of state per pupil aid that the district would otherwise receive. Half of the proposed 7.2 percent tax increase can be attributed to charter schools, which are expected to cost the district $16.55 million in state per pupil aid in the 2006-07 school year. In an effort to offset that loss in revenue, the proposed budget eliminates 41.4 teaching, administrative and support positions and slashes the budget for supplies, materials and equipment by 10 percent. That pares spending to the bone. Advocates of charter schools claim they are only responding to the demands of parents who are dissatisfied with the city schools. But either way, taxpayers must pick up the tab because the city schools have no control over enrollments and thus no way of achieving the economies of scale that charter advocates claim are possible. And the concentration of charter schools in Albany - seven already, with two more in the wings - makes it all the more difficult for the city school district to maintain the services it offers, much less enrich the curriculum and add staff necessary to compete with charter schools. If the budget is approved, the tax rate will increase from $22.86 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $24.50. That works out to an increase of $164 for a home assessed at $100,000, or less if the owner is eligible for exemptions under the state STAR program. A strong "yes" vote on Tuesday would send a signal to Gov. Pataki and other charter school advocates that Albany taxpayers believe strongly in the city schools - and know who is responsible for driving up the cost of operating them. Compared with the school budget, the library budget, which is not connected to the school district in any way, is noncontroversial. It includes a modest tax increase of about $5 for a home assessed at $100,000. For all the services the library offers, its popularity with patrons and its growing membership rolls, that's a bargain. (from The Hartford Courant)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/11/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: School budgets are not the only items voters will encounter at the polls Tuesday. Five Westchester communities will also be asked to consider library budgets. Coordinating library budget votes with school district referendums is an annual tradition in Chappaqua, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Montrose and the city of New Rochelle. In Chappaqua and New Rochelle, voters also will select library trustees. Residents will vote on the Mahopac Public Library budget June 7. The Mamaroneck Public Library holds its budget vote in December. Libraries cannot collect taxes under state law. They must go through their local municipality or call for a referendum through the district. Referendums are not required if there is no change in the budget or tax levy. "It is a good thing to have a public vote," said Mary Donnery, director of the Croton Free Library. "When it passes soundly, it is a real vote of confidence for what we do and the service we provide to the entire community." On the ballots: Chappaqua Library Proposed is a $2.6 million budget for 2006-07, a nearly 5 percent increase in spending. Voters are being asked for a tax levy of $2.5 million that would translate to a tax rate of $2.51 per $1,000 of assessed property value in the New Castle portion of the district and $30.01 per $1,000 in the Mt. Pleasant portion. The current tax rate is $2.40 per $1,000 in New Castle and $25.10 in Mt. Pleasant. The largest increases are 5.7 percent in worker benefits and 2.5 percent in operating expenses, which includes grounds maintenance costs and shared computer services through the Westchester Library System. Reductions are anticipated in book and periodical purchases. One seat on the library board is open and three candidates are vying for the five-year post. Candidates are: Janet Himel, a substitute teacher in the Chappaqua schools and a former systems analyst and computer programmer; Gordon Platt, a television producer and public-relations consultant; and Frederick Stein, retired director of operations at Newsweek International. Voting is from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Horace Greeley High School, 70 Roaring Brook Road. Croton Free Library The proposed budget is $839,257, up from the current $791,862. Spending calls for increases in automation and technology, but flat expenses in programming and for book and periodical purchases. The tax rate would go from $18.55 to $20.19 per $1,000 of assessed value in Cortlandt and from $13.50 to $14.75 per $1,000 in Yorktown. Voting is from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the gym at Croton-Harmon High School, 36 Old Post Road. Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose The $1.1 million spending plan is a 5.49 percent increase over the current fiscal year. The tax rate would go from $14.23 to $15.33 per $1,000 of assessed value in Cortlandt and from $6.12 to $6.67 per $1,000 for properties in the Peekskill portion of the library's circulation area. Library director Constance Dyckman said the proposal reflects higher costs for utilities and health insurance for staff. "We try to stretch things as best we can and take advantage of savings from shared system costs for technology," said Dyckman. Voting is from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the gym at the Frank G. Lindsey Elementary School, 57 Trolley Road. New Rochelle Public Library The city's library is proposing a $3.6 million budget, up from the current $3.4 million. The plan calls for keeping library material purchases stable at $254,000 and also holding the line on data-processing equipment and supplies. The library would spend $6,000 to purchase two new computers for staff. Employee insurance and utility costs will rise. The tax rate would go from $6.08 to $7.80 per $1,000 of assessed value, an additional $15 per year in homes with an average city assessment, library officials said. Greg Varian is running for the open five-year trustee seat. Frederica E. Sigel is not seeking another term. There are 13 polling places, and residents vote within their school election district. For information, contact the school district's main office at 914-576-4300. Voting is from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Ossining Public Library The library proposes a roughly 8.3 percent increase for 2006-07, which brings the spending plan from $2.7 million to $2.97 million. The costs of automation and employee benefits will rise; higher revenues are anticipated from library fines, photocopying fees and interest from investments. The tax rate is estimated to go from $11.85 to $13 per $1,000 of assessed value in Ossining; stay the same in New Castle; and the Yorktown rate would be $31.91, up 2 percent. (From The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Canastota Public Library Syracuse
P
04/26/2006
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Positive Impact: The Canastota Public Library's 2006-2007 budget was approved by voters Tuesday, 69-6. The budget shows an increase of 8 percent, to $311,000. Tax rates were not immediately available, but library officials said the library tax bill for a $100,000 property would be about $6 more than it was in the previous budget. The library had not had a tax increase since 1997, library officials said.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Broome County
P
04/25/2006
Negative Impact: Six local libraries that depend on money from Broome County to remain open may not get funding this year -- or have allocations delayed -- because some legislators want Union's taxpayer-funded libraries to get some assistance. Last week, the Legislature's finance committee defeated a measure that would have given nearly $350,000 in aid to libraries in Vestal, Deposit, Lisle, Fenton, Whitney Point and Nineveh. While the funding may eventually be distributed, it has some of the libraries affected thinking about life without county support. "To go from feast back to famine is going to be difficult for all of the libraries," said Deborah Sturdevant, director of the Lisle Free Library. Legislator Chris Kuzel, R-Johnson City, voted against funding the libraries because he feels the distribution is unfair to Union taxpayers who fund their libraries through a separate tax. Voters in 2004 approved a property tax to go toward running George F. Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott and Your Home Public Library in Johnson City. The tax netted more than $800,000 for the two libraries in 2005, nearly doubling their budgets from the year before. Kuzel believes it would be more equitable to reimburse the libraries for people who live outside the town and use Union's libraries, similar to libraries that receive county aid. "It neglects all of the taxpayers in the Town of Union who support two libraries," he said. County library aid is based on the percentage of people who use that library and do not live in its municipality, Broome Budget Director Nathaalie Maxwell said. The analysis is updated every five years. For example, 38 percent of patrons at the Mary Wilcox Memorial Library in Whitney Point do not live in the village, so Broome County contributes 38 percent of the library's annual budget. "It fills out our budget," Mary Wilcox Director Marylou Katchuk said. Local libraries operate on different fiscal years, but most of them had already figured that county aid into their current budgets. Some libraries, including the Mary Wilcox Memorial Library, receive a large part of their funding from the municipality where they are located. Others, such as the Lisle Free Library, rely on private funds left to it through endowments and trust. County aid accounts for more than a quarter of the Vestal Public Library's budget, library Director Carol A. Boyce said. She's not sure how the library would cope if it didn't receive the more than $250,000 in county aid the library was depending on. "We were just fighting to maintain a book budget at prices from 10 years ago," Boyce said. "Cuts would have to come somewhere. Our library board would have to deal with where that would come from." Since the resolution was defeated before Thursday's meeting, any Broome legislator can reintroduce it at the Legislature's May 18 meeting where it could come up for a vote. (from Press & Sun-Bulletin)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Howland Public library Poughkeepsie
P
04/20/2006
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Positive Impact: Howland Public Library's proposed 2006-07 budget contains a slight spending increase that would raise the library's property tax levy by about 3.5 percent. The impact on district tax rates won't be clear until the state releases equalized values later this year, but the library tax rates aren't likely to increase by more than the tax levy. Howland's 2005-06 budget held the line in spending. The new budget of $875,000 includes an additional $11,000 in spending, including the cost of hiring a part-time youth services librarian to work on the weekends. "The (library) board made a real effort to keep the levy down," library Director Phyllis Keaton said. Youth programs are in demand at the library, Keaton said. The proposed budget also includes money for a new book drop in the Wappinger hamlet of Chelsea, with future plans for another book drop in Fishkill.  

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Display this list sorted by library name
Library Name City Type Date
P
04/17/2006
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Positive Impact: The New York State Legislature approved a record increase in library aid, $5.7 million in additional operating funds to libraries and library systems and $14 million in additional support for public library construction/renovation projects. The increase would bring funding to $108 million from its current $88.9 million level. The state of New York has a $4 billion surplus this year. New York Library Association executive director Michael Borges told Library Hotline that the last aid increase was in 1998, and “we have been fighting 5-15 percent cuts from the governor over the past three years. So this increase is long overdue.” Still, at press time, Gov. George Pataki retained the right to veto the increase. Pataki had until the end of business, April 12, to veto. “If he does,” Borges said, “we are very hopeful that the legislature will override.” With the state fiscally healthy, the message has been “libraries deserve their fair share of the pie,” said Borges. “Legislators have responded to our grass-roots advocacy efforts and recognized that it was the libraries’ turn to receive a well-deserved increase.” (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Library Queens
P
04/09/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: During National Library Week, April 2 to 8, the Queens Library received a 12.78% increase in state funding - equal to $760,030 - to bring its total funding for 2006-2007 to more than $6.7 million, and it was done without cost to any other programs. "I was able to, by working with my colleagues, get increased funding for our Queens Library at a higher percentage than anywhere in the state," said state Sen. Frank Padavan (R,C-Bellerose). "We recognize how important public libraries are to communities, and those of us in Queens know that our libraries are one of our most valuable assets."  

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Mid-Hudson Library system Poughkepsie
P
04/08/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Imagine having nearly 2 million books, DVDs and other items available at the library in your neighborhood or town. Well, if you live in Dutchess or Ulster counties, you already do. That's because libraries belonging to the Mid-Hudson Library System, which covers five counties in the region, all share their materials. Users can request any of the 2 million titles over the Internet and have it delivered to their local library for check out. The popular service is getting a boost, thanks to the 2006-07 state budget recently approved by legislators. State funding for public libraries had not increased for several years. But the budget approved by lawmakers last week includes an additional $5.7 million in funding for libraries throughout the state and $14 million total in construction aid, up from $880,000 last year. The Mid-Hudson Library System will receive nearly $700,000 in additional state funding, under the plan. Some of that is because of population growth in the region between 1990 and 2000 that previously hadn't been accounted for. The increase comes at the right time. Running five trucks a day to deliver requested materials throughout the region is becoming more and more costly, said Joshua Cohen, executive director of the Mid-Hudson Library System. The additional funding will help keep the "request-a-title" program going, he said. "That has been so successful, we constantly have to have more delivery runs," Cohen said. "We were starting to have to look at some kind of fee structure, which we didn't want to do." Gov. George Pataki could still veto parts of the budget passed last week by the Legislature. He has said he thinks spending is too high in the plan, but it's not clear whether library aid is among the areas he's targeting. The news of higher funding came on the eve of National Library Week, an annual campaign celebrating the contributions libraries make to the community, which runs through today. A budget surplus of $2 billion to $4 billion made the decision easier for lawmakers. It also came after several years of library representatives and supporters making their case to state legislators for increased support. "It was their efforts that kept this as an incredibly important issue that when the opportunity presented itself, enabled us to deal with it," Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, said of library proponents. "I give them a lot of a credit for having the persistence and the fortitude. They certainly had the right cause." The library system provides key support services that help reduce costs for individual libraries. It also allows them to offer services they otherwise would not be able to. City of Poughkeepsie resident Frank Van Zanten, a retired librarian, said as a user of local libraries, the feature is invaluable. "It's a very easy, quick process," Van Zanten said of requesting library materials through his home computer. "They've developed a beautiful system." Phyllis Keaton, director of the Howland Public Library in Beacon, said that's the same reaction she often hears from patrons when they first use the feature. It also allows local residents to think of their library as more than the building down the road, she said. "We like to think of ourselves as much as we possibly can ... that we're one big library," Keaton said of the regional library system. The program also means librarians don't have to say no when someone asks for a book not in their collection. "There's a limited building; there's a limit to how many books we can put in it," said Jo Anne Fatherly, assistant director of the Grinnell Library in Wappingers Falls. "Someone in this system is going to have the book you are looking for." (from Poughkepsie Journal) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Liverpool Public Library Syracuse
P
04/06/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Liverpool Public Library officials have drafted a proposed $3.4 million budget for 2006-2007. The $3,484,500 spending plan is almost 1.7 percent higher than the current budget of $3,427,448. There are no new programs or major cuts in the budget, Library Director Elizabeth Dailey said. Health insurance, utilities and contracts caused the increase. "We tend to have small increases across the board," she said. This draft of the 2006-2007 budget carries an estimated property tax rate increase of about 3 cents per $1,000 for Salina residents, Dailey said. That means the tax rate could go from $1.32 per $1,000 this year to $1.35. In Clay, the tax rate increase is estimated at 50 cents per $1,000. That means the tax rate could increase from $26.44 to $26.94 next year. A draft of the proposed budget is available on the library's Web site at www.lpl.org . Residents will vote on the budget May 16. At that time, the board also will ask residents to vote on a $445,000 renovation project. The project includes replacing the library's 30-year-old roof and adding exterior wall insulation. The concrete pillars in the library's basement parking lot also need repairs. The project could add 2 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for Salina residents, according to a library press release. In Clay, it could raise the tax rate by 38 cents per $1,000. The combined tax impact for the budget and the renovation project could raise the tax rate from its current $1.32 per $1,000 to $1.37 for Salina residents. In Clay, the tax rate would rise from $26.44 per $1,000 to $27.32. Three trustee seats also will be open for election. The five-year terms of Board President George Alessio and Treasurer Larry Duntsone's expire in June. The term of Trustee Timothy Dodge, appointed in October to replace Liverpool Mayor Marlene Ward, also ends. That seat is available for a one-year term. Those interested in running for the positions must garner at least 25 signatures from residents within the Liverpool school district. Petitions are available at the school district office and at the library. All petitions are due at 5 p.m. April 17. (from The Post Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Saratoga Springs Public Library Saratoga
P
04/06/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: A proposed $4.8 million budget for the Saratoga Springs Public Library will go before voters Thursday, April 13. The proposed budget for the 2006-07 fiscal year will increase spending by 2.77 percent, or $121,385. Spending will increase to $4,800,897 from $4,679,512. The spending will meet the increased demands that are being placed on the library, which serves the residents of the Saratoga Springs City School District. "We accomplished a lot in our last budget year. We added new shelving, increased our collections and remodeled our children's room," Library Board President Kenneth Bollerud said in a statement. "This year we are commit ted to meeting the high demand we experience for library services and completing our plans for future years." The library had its busiest year ever in 2005. Patrons borrowed 667,000 items. There were 540,000 visits to the library. The library sponsored more than 1,000 programs attended by 22,000 adults and children. There were more than 1,000 meetings held by nonprofit groups. The library said more than 110,000 people used the library's computers. "The budget proposal we are putting forward maintains the resources to meet this very high demand," said Harry Dutcher, the library director. The proposed budget sees funding for purchasing recordings rise to $90,000 from $70,000; postage increase to $15,000 from $10,000; electricity rise to $150,000 from $125,000; programs expenses increase to $40,000 from $37,000; and salaries rise to $2,390,575 from $2,240,000. The tentative budget reduces spending on books by $5,000, reducing it to $235,000 from $240,000; equipment by $45,000, reducing it to $45,000 from $90,000; professional services by $12,000 to $38,000 form $50,000 and debt service by $25,874 from $669,012 to $643,138. Library officials said that tax rates have not yet been calculated as assessment and equalization rates are not yet available for Saratoga Springs and the towns of Greenfield, Malta, Milton, Saratoga and Wilton. They estimate there may be a 2.77 percent increase in the library tax. In addition to the budget, voters will elect a member to the library board of trustees for a five-year term. Bollerud, a city resident, is running unopposed. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County Library System Buffalo and Erie County
P
04/02/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Last year, officials announced plans to close 16 libraries because of the county budget crisis, producing images of hollow, abandoned buildings suddenly dotting the county. Library activists worried that these neighborhood assets would be lost forever as centers for community gatherings and intellectual growth. Six months later, the picture has brightened considerably. Saturday, the East Side celebrated the opening of the new 20,000-square-foot Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, named after the editor and publisher of the Criterion. Romeo Nelson, 7, plopped himself down on the floor of the African-themed library to thumb through a copy of "Superdog." "Because my favorite is to read," the little boy said, as a library volunteer gently reminded him to put the book back on the shelf after he was done. "This is exactly what kids need so they know it's OK to go to the library," said Terri Gayles of Cheektowaga, who brought her 5-year-old son, Peyton, to the opening celebration. To mark the official opening, a parade of community leaders marched from the now-closed North Jefferson Branch across the street to the new library. Of the libraries that closed, two subsequently reopened as limited-circulation reading rooms, and 10 more already are being renovated and converted to other uses. Of all the library buildings that have closed, at least nine have reopened or are expected to reopen for some sort of community or educational purpose. Some other buildings are being sold. Only two former libraries appear to have no current prospects. "It comes down to the community saying, "We want to reuse this space, and everything this library used to represent can be carried out in a different fashion,' " said Michael Mahaney, executive director of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. (from Buffalo News) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
P
03/31/2006
Negative Impact: The Niagara Falls Public Library Board is heading back to court against City Hall. The city was sued by the Library Board last year when it underfunded the library by $1 million. In September, State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle ordered the municipality to pay the library the balance of a $2 million appropriation in the 2005 city budget, as well as attorneys' fees. Library leaders say the city still has not paid all the money it allocated to the library in 2005, or any legal fees related to the lawsuit. Library Board attorney Edward P. Perlman filed a request for summary judgment with State Supreme Court on Thursday, stating that the city has never paid $93,891 still owed to the library at the end of 2005, or attorneys' fees of $5,670. (from Buffalo News)  

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Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn
P
03/28/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: THE BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY may get nearly $2 million in extra state funding this year. The windfall is the result of a long overdue correction in the state's formula for calculating library aid. Despite a law requiring aid be tagged to the current decade's federal census figures, the state has continued to use 1990 census figures to fund libraries. "It's about time," said City Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), chairman of the council's subcommittee on libraries. "For years, New York City's libraries have been getting the short end of the stick." Between 1990 and 2000, Brooklyn's population grew by 7.2%, nearly 165,000 people. "Here we are, halfway through the decade, and we're still using figures from 1990," said New York Library Association chief Michael Borges. "It's a real tragedy. Libraries are being shortchanged of money due to them, according to the law." Since 2001, Brooklyn has lost about $1.7 million in state funds, he said. The lost money - along with large cuts in city funding - has led to drastic cuts in hours and staffing, and fewer new books and computers. The increases could come this year because of an estimated $4 billion state surplus. If budget resolutions pending in the Senate and Assembly are adopted early next month, the Brooklyn Public Library will see an extra $348,689 in its annual operating budget. The library currently receives about $7 million a year from the state, Borges said. On top of that and to make up for the five years of stagnant budgets, Brooklyn's libraries would get an additional $1.3 million in capital funds and nearly $200,000 in operating expenses. Library officials said any new money would be used to increase hours, buy new books and programs. (from Daily News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Sloatsburg and Suffern libraries Westerchester county
P
03/21/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Residents of the Ramapo Central School District approved the Sloatsburg and Suffern library budgets yesterday. The vote was 428 to 104. The measure will increase funding for the libraries by $124,217, of which $10,197 will go to Sloatsburg and $114,020 to Suffern, which is the larger of the two facilities. Overall, the increase represents a library tax increase of about 4.5 percent. A residential property with a typical $50,000 assessment will be billed $9 more annually. The current tax rate of $3.94 per $1,000 of assessed property value will rise 18 cents per $1,000. Increased fuel costs and insurance expenses were reasons given for the budget increase, as well as the desires of both libraries to expand their collections and programming. "We thank the communities for their support," Sloatsburg Library director Mary Blake said last night. "We're very happy that it passed." She and Suffern Library director Ruth Bolin attributed much of the increase to the need for more audiovisual materials, including DVDs, CDs and books on tape. The budgets also will permit replacement of outdated reference materials. It would also pay for more copies of the most popular books and DVDs. At Sloatsburg, the budget would increase to $330,365, up from $320,168. Suffern's would go up to $2,733,113 from $2,624,108. The Sloatsburg Library is to spend $58,800 for materials including books, CDs, periodicals and videos, up from $51,000. At Suffern, that part of the budget is to rise to $379,871 from $373,550. Costs associated with building maintenance, utilities and insurance are to rise to $213,166 at Suffern, up from $186,600. Similar costs in Sloatsburg are to go up to $31,620 from $29,320. (from The Journal News)  

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Buffalo and Erie County Library system Buffalo and Erie County
P
03/17/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Thanks to some frugal budgeting, the Buffalo & Erie County Library system will have more for library materials this year than last year. The library board voted Thursday to allocate $555,485 in unspent money from its 2005 budget toward books and materials in this year's budget, said Chief Financial Officer Kenneth H. Stone. With that additional money, this year's materials budget stands at $2.5 million. That's 10 percent of the library system's total operating budget this year, up from 8 percent. While that's far short of the national average for comparable library systems, administrators said the increase is a step in the right direction. "Fund raising is still very important," Stone said. Overall, the library system ended its challenging 2005 budget year in the black by keeping a lid on expenses despite nearly $23,000 in unbudgeted revenue losses, Stone said. The library system's fund balance declined modestly from the start of 2005 to the start of this year. The remaining savings stand at about 10 percent of the library system's $25.3 million operating budget for 2006. (from Buffalo News) 

Potential Fundraising Activities: The board formally asked for more input and involvement regarding reorganizational changes being considered by the Library Foundation, which has served as the library's main fund-raising arm for years. The foundation has refused to share details of its restructuring discussions since the group's Executive Committee met privately last month to talk about the foundation's mission and unimpressive fund-raising role since the Erie County budget crisis began. Shortly after that meeting, the foundation moved out of its rent-free office in the Central Library without explanation, library administrators said.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
03/17/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Residents and community leaders who spoke before state legislators yesterday had a similar theme - they want more money. State Sen. Thomas Morahan, R-New City, and Assemblyman Ryan Karben, D-Monsey, with Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski, D-New City, arriving later, listened to more than a dozen speakers at a public hearing on Gov. George Pataki's proposed $110.6 billion budget. On topics from libraries and hospitals to schools and health care, most speakers at the Suffern Free Library were more interested in asking legislators for more state funding than they were in commenting on Pataki's budget. Several county library officials, including Randall Enos, consultant for the Ramapo Catskill Library System, and Joanne Sininsky, of the Library Association of Rockland County, asked the legislators for the first state library aid increase since 1998. Current funding levels, Enos said, are based on census figures from 1990. Morahan and Karben said the state Senate and Assembly, respectively, agree that the state should be using 2000 census numbers, which would increase aid to the Ramapo Catskill Library System by $145,460. "We know that you are all library supporters," Sininsky said. "We just need to you to get back to Albany and make sure the work gets done." David Freed, president and chief executive officer of Nyack Hospital, said he was disappointed that Pataki included a budget reduction in Medicaid payments that will cause a loss of $630,000 for Nyack Hospital. "I do have to seriously question why hospitals get punished year after year in New York state," Freed said, asking the legislators to restore the funding. Rockland Community College President Cliff Wood noted that one-third of the school's funding should come from the state, with the remaining two-thirds coming from the county and student tuition. Currently, the college gets $2,300 from the state for each full-time student, Wood said, asking for an extra $250 per student from the state. Pataki, he noted, has included an extra $100 in his proposed budget, while the Senate and the Assembly are pushing for $175. Wood said the state money is necessary so the college won't have to raise tuition. Morahan responded by calling RCC "a rose in this county." (from The Journal news)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westchester County
P
03/13/2006
Negative Impact: Libraries, museums, the Humane Society, the Women's Center and many other Putnam agencies would lose funding this year under a proposal by County Executive Robert Bondi intended to help close a 2006 budget gap. Ten weeks into the new fiscal year, the administration projects a $3 million shortfall in sales tax revenue. Bondi is calling for about $100,000 in cuts to cultural and social service agencies to help bolster the $124 million county budget. The Legislature must approve the cuts before they could be implemented. "We have to find ways to address this ongoing problem, and the solution should not be borne solely by the taxpayers," Bondi said in a written statement. He is scheduled to give his State of the County address Wednesday. The measure would affect all organizations that receive nonmandated county subsidies of more than $10,000. Agencies that receive from $11,000 to $50,000 a year from the county would get a 5 percent cut. Above $50,000 would mean a 10 percent reduction. The sliding scale proposal would yield savings of $97,780, said Bondi, a Republican who has not announced whether he will seek reelection in November. Bondi's recommendation is expected to meet with stiff opposition from the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature. County lawmakers and Bondi raised the property tax rate 7.75 percent in 2006, the first increase in a decade. Legislator Robert McGuigan, R-Mahopac, a candidate for county executive, called instead for an independent audit of Putnam National Golf Club, the county-owned golf course in Mahopac, and Tilly Foster Farm, the 199-acre horse farm in Southeast. To preserve them from development, the county bought the properties several years ago using New York City watershed protection money, but their operation and maintenance cost Putnam taxpayers thousands of dollars each year. An infusion of $575,000 in state funding, secured by state Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson, in the final days of the county's 2006 budget process restored funding to a variety of social service and cultural agencies. This included the restoration of $64,000 in county support for a program run in conjunction with the Women's Center that provides legal assistance to battered women seeking orders of protection, child support and custody, visitation rights and divorce. Planned library cut: * Library funding $21,617 (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Oneida Public Library Syracuse
P
03/09/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters approved the Oneida Public Library's 2006-07 budget 168-56 Tuesday. The budget will total $295,350, up 2.8percent from the 2005-06 budget. Rates vary by municipality. The library is funded by property owners in the Oneida City School District, which includes the city of Oneida, Oneida Castle, Durhamville, Sylvan Beach and Wampsville and portions of Verona and Lenox. The increased spending will cover small pay raises for part-time workers, required fees by the Mid-York Library System for shared services, utility rate hikes and a higher building insurance premium. The budget year runs from July through June. (from The Post-Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
NY
P
03/03/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: New York City has rescinded proposed midyear budget cuts that would have forced service reductions at its three public library systems. Joanne King, assistant director of marketing and communications at Queens Library, told American Libraries that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city council worked together to avoid the cuts, but that there is still a proposal to reduce next year’s budget for Queens Library by $11 million. She said that the library was working with the city council and the mayor to make them understand the impact such a cut would have, adding that “They have been very understanding of the importance of strong library service.”Brooklyn Public Library spokesperson Stefanie Arck reported that the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget called BPL Executive Director Ginnie Cooper February 27 to tell her the cuts had been rescinded.(from American Libraries) 

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The Buffalo and Erie County Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
03/03/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library is on the receiving end of a $301,500 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Funding, to be drawn from March 2006 to December 2008, will be appropriated from the Gates Foundation's Global Libraries program. Money will be used to provide computer access and upgrade software to libraries in the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna. Branches in each municipality have previously received financial support from the foundation. The B&ECPL said it has now received more than $900,000 for computer purposes from the Gates library program. (from Business First of Buffalo)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York
P
02/21/2006
Negative Impact: In the face of midyear budget cuts proposed by the city administration, New York City’s three public library systems are gearing up for service reductions should the cuts be approved. Joanne King, assistant director of marketing and communications at Queens Library, told American Libraries the cut in the system’s budget would be $1.6 million—the amount the city council gave the library in June to restore hours, which were added in November. King stressed that the reduction “is not a done deal. It’s a proposal. We are hopeful the mayor and the city council will find a way around it.”Although it will be April before the libraries learn whether the cuts will occur, Brooklyn Public Library is preparing to take measures that will avoid having to make major changes at that time. “Due to budget cuts for fiscal year 2006 that were announced on January 31, 2006, Brooklyn Public Library is taking a number of steps to save $1.2 million,” said BPL Chief of Staff Dionne Mack. “By focusing our efforts on internal savings, we can minimize the impact to BPL’s service and continue to provide access to books, technology, and programs for the people of Brooklyn.” The $1.2 million cut would amount to 1.7% of the library’s city-funded budget.New York Public Library Vice President for Communications and Marketing Anne Canty told AL that the library was still looking at what measures it would take to absorb a funding cut if it occurs. (from American Libraries) 

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Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
02/19/2006
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Fundraising Results: Let's see the money. That's what Buffalo & Erie County Public Library officials say when they hear claims by its primary fund-raising arm, the Library Foundation, that it raised hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of the library system last year. Though the foundation has a $1.6 million endowment and solicits major donors every year, library administrators say they received no proceeds from the foundation's investments or fund-raising campaigns in the last few years. The foundation's last big event actually lost money. "I don't think the library foundation has lived up to our needs and expectations," said Library Director Michael Mahaney. "There are people on the foundation board that say 'this is not our mission' -- but it's got to be somebody's mission." Questions about who should be raising money for the library system and how it should be done rage on at a time when the system desperately needs cash t o alleviate huge losses in circulation, building hours and staff. Foundation leaders say the administration is dictatorial and ignorant of fund-raising realities. Library administrators, meanwhile, say the foundation is caught up in high-brow projects at a time when the library system is searching for money to buy books and materials. That criticism resonates with some foundation board members. "There's presently a division of thinking as to how to benefit the lib rary, and we hope to have it resolved very shortly," said foundation treasurer Gordon Gross. "My interest is strictly how to benefit the library at this time of n eedwith as much funding as possible." Both sides point to a long history of broken promises, frustration and mistrust. Foundation leaders say the administration has made the foundation's work difficult. They say library leaders have failed to involve them early on in efforts such as the renovation of the Central Library. Foundation Director Anne Leary and longtime board member Catherine Schweitzer say the administration has never reached out to the foundation as a true partner, nor credited the foundation for raising the library system' profile regionally and nationally. They scoff at the library board's recent decision to spend roughly $60,000 this year to start its own development office, saying the administration has zero experience in wooing sophisticated, big-money donors. "There's a lot more to it than sticking your hand out and saying, 'Give me money,' " Schweitzer said. She and Leary pointed out that last year the foundation received more than $19,000 in private donations to host ongoing children's reading programs, and another $6,000 in donated Harry Potter books from Digicon Imaging. Library officials say they have offered to present ideas to the foundation regarding potential projects like the renovation of the children's room and rare book room, but have been rebuffed. Until now, a primary focus of the foundation's work has been to raise money to support, preserve and showcase the library system's rare and prestigious book collection. It's most recent exhibition, "The Map That Changed the World," which ran from September to December, highlighted the library system's copy of the first geology map ever drawn in England, which dates to 1815. That exhibit brought in visitors from around the country and the world, foundation officials said. It also elevated the status of the Central Library as a regional asset. Critics, however, say this is not what the average library patron is interested in right now. They also note that while the foundation says it raised $195,410 in cash and in-kind donations from the event, it actually lost money because of the expenses involved. Leary said this loss is offset by the contacts and partnerships generated b y the event, which could lead to future income for the library system. "We cannot provide bucketfuls of money in discretionary funding," Leary said, "but we can provide cash for programming and partnerships." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Nyack Public Library Nyack
P
02/15/2006
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Nyack Library's $2.4 million budget and Valley Cottage Library's $1.6 million budget - combined as one ballot item - were passed 355 to 100, Nyack Library Director James Mahoney said last night. At Nyack Library, 207 voters approved the budgets and 57 voted against. At Valley Cottage Library, 148 voters approved the budgets and 43 voted against. The budgets, in effect for the 2006-2007 school year, will cover normal operating expenses and include increases for salaries and utility costs. Additional increases in the Nyack Library budget will help pay for an $8 million expansion of the existing building - scheduled to begin in 2007. The new budgets mean a combined 6.81 percent tax rate increase for Nyack school district homeowners. Orangetown property owners will pay about $2.36 more per $1,000 of the assessed value of their homes. Clarkstown property owners will pay about $3.78 more per $1,000 of their assessed home value. The average homeowner will pay about $30.49 more in library taxes. Mahoney has said Nyack Library had been putting aside money for nearly five years to help finance the $8 million capital project. The library also will run a fundraising campaign before issuing bonds to finance the construction. He estimated that nearly half of the proposed budget increase would be set aside to pay for whatever bonds were sold. Amelia Kalin, director of the Valley Cottage Library, has said the biggest increase in that library's budget was for next year's utilities. (from the Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Albany
P
02/13/2006
Negative Impact: OPINION: Once, New York led the nation in public support for libraries. Now among the states it is 23rd of 50. Albany, quick enough to feather its pet projects, seems to think books are dusty tomes occasionally opened. Library aid is pegged to a federal Census 16 years old. Last year brought a further insulting 5 percent cut. With a growing demand for technological modernization, our Rockland and other New York libraries have to grovel for needed money, though the Ramapo Catskill Library System is doing an excellent job with what is offered. The patron can now download e-books off its site (RCLS.org). As Samuel Simon, the former Finkelstein Memorial Library director, notes in a letter today, "The Legislature passed a law (Chapter 917) in 1990 that requires the state to use the most current federal Census to calculate library aid. For the past five years, the state has continued to use the 1990 Census, thereby denying nine million library cardholders in New York the funding they deserve under the law. This disregard for the law has cost New York's libraries $13 million in state aid since 2001." Why such neglect? Visit any Rockland library, and you will find heavy and varied use, from computer work to group reading to cultural programs. Staff, many of whom have expensive-to-obtain master's of library science degrees, are very often underpaid. Libraries still suffer from the old image, never really true, of a place where only the intellectual roams, where kids hang out on a rainy day, where the "Quiet" sign is as standard as the dust on old books. Libraries were thought to be quaint fixtures, tolerated as window dressing for a maturing society, like the good china you occasionally bring out.  

Positive Impact: Nonsense. That was never the case. Libraries have been the bastion of free-thinking, of the self-educated (like the great library patron Andrew Carnegie), a protector of free speech and thought. Our libraries today are so vital in Rockland in particular that some are funded by taxing districts. Some have rebuilt quarters in response to patron needs. All are more than keeping up with the times technologically, with new equipment and retraining. The Legislature and the governor must obey their own law. Chapter 917 must be observed. Many years of budgetary neglect must be reversed. Are you listening, Rockland Albany representatives? Are you? (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
02/13/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Opinion: I have written to Rockland's Albany representatives, urging them to include a minimum of $2.6 million in additional library aid in the 2006-'07 state budgetthat would use the 2000 Census with hold-harmless provision to calculate money for library services throughout New York. The Legislature passed a law (Chapter 917) in 1990 that requires the state to use the most current federal Census to calculate library aid. For the past five years, the state has continued to use the 1990 Census, thereby denying 9 million library cardholders in New York the funding they deserve under the law. This disregard for the law has cost New York's libraries $13 million in state aid since 2001. This loss is on top of a 5 percent cut in 2004 and no increase in library aid since 1998. This combination of flat funding eroded by inflation and cuts has reduced the buying power of library aid to 1992 levels. While New York has been cutting aid or neglecting its libraries, other states last year increased aid for library services, like Massachusetts and New Jersey, which hiked aid respectively by $2.6 million and $6.9 million. The $88.9 million in library aid amounts to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state budget. What other state-funded public service serves so many people (75 percent of New York households) for so little money? Other states like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois and Maryland allocate a larger percentage of their state budgets for library aid than New York. In addition to the $2.6 million, among the library community's other top budget priorities are: 1) $3 million increase for library systems; 2) $7 million for NOVEL ($3.5 million for academic research databases/journals); and 3) increasing library materials aid from $6 per pupil to $9 per pupil to allow school libraries to purchase books. Libraries provide learning for a lifetime, from pre-schoolers and elementary school to college students and senior citizens. How can New York continue to effectively compete in the Information Age when we neglect making the absolute minimum investments in our information infrastructure, our libraries and library systems? Sam Simon South Nyack The writer is a retired library director. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo
P
02/06/2006
Negative Impact: The closure of 15 Erie County libraries late last year was just the start of a painful process that has cut remaining libraries in every community to the bone. The library system's vital signs show nothing but a gaunt and troubled network in decline since the county budget crisis began unfolding in late 2004. Circulation is down. Fine revenue is down. The 3 million-item library collection is shrinking by more than 100,000 items a year. Full-time staff is nearly half what it was in 2004. The budget for new books and materials has gone from $4.7 million to zero since that time. The trickle of new items purchased this year comes from remaining 2004 county dollars that administrators struggled to save. Branch hours have been slashed so deeply that even with additional money kicked in by more than a dozen towns and villages to extend hours of service, seven libraries still don't meet the state's minimum standards for being open. And despite the hopeful rhetoric of top library administrators, few others see their libraries returning to health. "It stinks," said Salvatore Bordonaro, director of the Lackawanna Public Library, which fell from 44 hours a week to 32. "People are demoralized. The staff is demoralized. The public is demoralized." Area leaders profess the value of neighborhood libraries and their desire to find more support. But bags of money aren't magically appearing, and no additional funds have been promised by the county or state - the system's primary sources of money. "We're basically operating on the same amount of money we had in 1997," said Executive Director Michael Mahaney. "If we don't get more money to operate, I don't know where we're going next year." Actually, he does know: They'll be going down. Like all other organizations, the library system's personnel costs continue to rise each year, he said. Yet the county's four-year budget forecast shows zero increase in library funding. In addition, the state's allocation to libraries has remained flat for roughly a decade. Without increases, Mahaney said he can't guarantee more libraries won't close in 2007. County officials say there are no plans to increase the operating budget for the county library system, nor are there any plans to borrow or find money to cover any new books and materials. "We're all having to find new ways of doing business," said County Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli. "I haven't met anyone who's against libraries. Everybody's for libraries. But put it in the big picture . . . these fall under the categories of what's discretionary. It all comes down to what do you want to fight for and what can you afford." In a study by the American Library Association before the county budget crisis hit, Erie County libraries enjoyed a far higher circulation rate per capita than most other major metropolitan system nationwide. But with all the cuts, that rate is expected to fall. Many regular library patrons already are angered by cutbacks at their neighborhood libraries, assuming they still have one. "I think this is just an outrage," said David Crosby, a City of Tonawanda retiree and former English teacher who uses his library's computers to check his e-mail and do research. "I think people feel defeated." Lynn Baumann, who routinely brings her two young sons to the City of Tonawanda Public Library, said she has had to wait months for requested books to be ordered and has resorted to going to discount bookstores to find the books that interest her. One patron, browsing a paperback rack, guessed that a lot of the newer library materials might have been donated by other patrons. To illustrate, he pulled a 2005 paperback by mystery writer Michael Connelly that he believes he once owned. Christine Moesch, director of the City of Tonawanda Public Library, remembers when she used to be able to offer older residents a "Cyber Seniors" class on Wednesdays to teach seniors how to operate a computer and open up e-mail accounts. It was wildly popular, she said. But there isn't the staff to do that anymore. She pointed to her new-books collection. It used to span two bookcases, she said. Now, it barely spans one. "There are so many things I want to order, and I can't," she said. "It's very frustrating." The City of Tonawanda Public Library is one of seven in the county that falls short of the state's minimum standards for library hours. It used to be open more than 46 hours a week. Now it's open 34. Some branches are open far fewer hours than that. The North Park branch in Buffalo, for instance, is only open three days a week, Tuesday through Thursday, for a total of 18 hours. "That's not good," Mahaney said. Bordonaro, head of the Lackawanna library, said his branch would need an additional $42,000 to stay open an additional day and meet state standards. Though his library is getting assistance from volunteers and reaching out to the community, he said, it can only do so much. "The City of Lackawanna doesn't have a lot of money to throw our way," he said. To try to stem the losses, top library administrators and board members have approved the creation of a new development office to help with fund raising. If it can bring in more money than it costs to run this year, Mahaney said he will consider it a success. "We've undergone this extensive surgery," he said of the many cutbacks. "Let's see if we can heal the patient." (from the Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo
P
01/24/2006
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Positive Impact: Two weeks ago, the William Street School librarian was met with open ears but empty pockets when she appealed to the Lancaster School Board for additional staffing. Monday, district officials dug into the savings they hope to obtain from a mild winter and came up with enough money to hire a teaching assistant to help staff the library. Thanks to the unseasonably warm weather of recent weeks, the district is spending less than expected on its heating bills, Assistant School Superintendent Edward J. Myszka said. And the district has also spent less than expected on snow removal. He said the savings will be enough to cover the cost of a full-time teaching assistant for the rest of the year -- between $11,000 and $15,000, including benefits, depending on whether the employee takes single or family health coverage. "The administration was charged at the last meeting to try to find money in the existing budget," Myszka said. "I guess we're all blessed with a mild winter." Most board members were pleased. "It's an interim solution to sort of Band-Aid the situation," Joseph Santoro said. The library has a full-time librarian, a part-time librarian and an aide. The district's class size task force two weeks ago recommended making the part-time librarian full time and adding another aide. Shelley Stoffel, the full-time librarian, told the board then that she needed more staff to keep pace with the 50 percent increase in students the school saw this year when fourth grade was added to the building. Board members agreed two weeks ago that she needed more staff but said that there was no money left in the staffing line of the contingency budget. Monday, though, the majority of the board said they were comfortable with Myszka's newfound strategy of funding the position of teaching assistant. The board approved creating the position, 5-1, with Lorraine Bona dissenting and Richard Foley absent. Bona said she would like to find a way to help out the William Street library, but in a way that would not affect the bottom line. She suggested looking into the possibility of having each elementary school send an aide over to William Street one day a week. "We are on a contingency budget this year," she said. "As far as the weather, yes, we've been lucky so far. But what happens if we expend the money now and then fall short in February or March?" If the district were going to spend money on additional staffing, she would prefer to spend it in a classroom setting, she said. She noted that the kindergarten enrollment at Hillview Elementary School is continuing to grow. Two classes have 24 pupils; another has 23; and another two have 22 pupils each. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Bronx Library Bronx
P
01/20/2006
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Positive Impact: The New York Public Library held a dedication ceremony January 17 for a new, state-of-the-art, five-story central branch in the Bronx—a facility three times the size of the Fordham Library Center that had served the borough for 82 years. The $50-million, 78,000-square-foot Bronx Library Center, designed by Dattner Architects, offers 127 desktop computers for public use and houses 200,000 books, periodicals, and multimedia items for the community’s ethnically diverse users. “The Bronx Library Center represents the finest efforts of a team of talented NYPL staff members,” said Susan Kent, director and chief executive of NYPL’s branch libraries. “It offers the Bronx the best resources, services, technology, and information expertise available in libraries today.” The library features a Latino and Puerto Rican Cultural Center with 20,000 volumes of fiction and nonfiction in English and Spanish. The borough’s largest Center for Reading and Writing is also located in the library, which offers advanced assistive technologies for people with hearing and visual disabilities. The new building deploys energy-efficient exterior surfaces of glass and steel, photo sensors to lower the interior lighting in bright sun, and motion sensors to turn off unneeded lights. The January 16 New York Times noted that its insulated glass-curtain wall uses natural light to help heat the building and offers a panoramic view of the Bronx that includes the New York Botanical Garden, Fordham University, and the spans of the Whitestone Bridge over the East River. Two days of free music, dance and theater performances, storytelling, and tours were scheduled for January 21–22 to celebrate the library’s opening. (from American Libraries)  

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Brooklyn Libraries Brooklyn
P
01/19/2006
Negative Impact: BROOKLYN LIBRARIES are open nearly six hours less a week than they were in 2001, the Daily News has found. The drop in hours is the result of sharp cuts in the city budget after 9/11, officials said. The economy has recovered, but city funding of the Brooklyn Public Library is still millions of dollars below 2001 levels. "Brooklyn residents want and need all 58 neighborhood libraries to be open mornings, evenings and weekends," said the library's executive director, Ginnie Cooper. To get back to pre-9/11 hours, the budget for next year needs to jump 13%, or $9 million, Cooper said. Brooklyn libraries - open less than the city's two other systems - are open six days a week for an average of 37 hours and 14 minutes, often just four or five hours a day, according to a News analysis. In 2001, the branches were open 43 hours and 10 minutes a week, according to the Mayor's Management Report. "My goal is to get them back to where they were pre-9/11," said City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island), chairman of the intergovernmental relations committee, which oversees the library systems. Recchia said the Council formed a subcommittee yesterday to deal with the budget crisis faced by the libraries. Though library hours have steadily risen since 2004, Mayor Bloomberg has asked the three systems to trim their budgets 3.3% for the rest of fiscal 2006 and for fiscal 2007, which starts July 1. "Just because this year we are having a good year in terms of revenue doesn't mean that will happen again next year," said Bloomberg spokesman Jordan Barowitz, recently appointed to the Brooklyn library's board. As the library heads into its annual budget negotiations with the city, the board is looking into a potential conflict of interest Bloomberg's special counsel Anthony Crowell, a library board member, has been nominated as vice president - a post charged with asking the City Council to restore mayoral budget cuts. "My concern is that we're placing him in this institutional conflict of interest, and that the library could end up losing in the end," said trustee Mark Lieberman.  

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New York Public Library NY
P
01/13/2006
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Positive Impact: Gov. George E. Pataki will include more than $75 million for a Hudson River park, museums and the New York Public Library in his executive budget next week. The budget, to be announced Tuesday, will include $42 million for the Hudson River Park Trust to help complete work on a five-mile-long park extending from Battery Park in lower Manhattan to 59th Street with bike paths and walkways, Pataki said Friday. The governor is proposing $18 million to restore the 70-year-old Roosevelt Memorial Hall at the Museum of Natural History; $12 million to go to the New York Public Library for facade restoration of its landmark branch on Fifth Avenue; and $5 million for the New-York Historical Society to help upgrade its auditorium and a rare books library. (from the Associated Press)  

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Library Name City Type Date
P
01/13/2006
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Positive Impact: Gov. George E. Pataki will include more than $75 million for a Hudson River park, museums and the New York Public Library in his executive budget next week. The budget, to be announced Tuesday, will include $42 million for the Hudson River Park Trust to help complete work on a five-mile-long park extending from Battery Park in lower Manhattan to 59th Street with bike paths and walkways, Pataki said Friday. The governor is proposing $18 million to restore the 70-year-old Roosevelt Memorial Hall at the Museum of Natural History; $12 million to go to the New York Public Library for facade restoration of its landmark branch on Fifth Avenue; and $5 million for the New-York Historical Society to help upgrade its auditorium and a rare books library. "I am pleased to include in this year's executive budget critical funding to support the restoration and renovation of some of New York City's most important cultural institutions and historic facilities," Pataki said in a statement. The executive budget would need the state legislature's approval. (from Associated Press)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Elma Library Elma
P
01/12/2006
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Fundraising Results: The Elma Town Board, meeting in a work session Wednesday, agreed to let the Elma Library Board use $10,000 of the $20,000 budgeted for library capital improvements and $4,000 in surplus funds to meet library payroll over the next six months. Elma owns the library building and budgets for repairs and upkeep, with the county paying for everything else. Library trustee Rich Walter told the Town Board the library is $50,000 short despite making three full-time positions part-time at a savings of $29,000. However, the library will receive $6,000 from the county, and officials hope to get $15,000 to $18,000 in grant money and another $18,000 through fund-raisers. The $14,000 from the town will help the library operate at the state minimum of 35 hours a week. Before the county's fiscal crisis, the library was open 43 hours a week. It is now funded by the county to be open 28 hours. The board also agreed to let the library hold a book and baked goods sale in the lobby of Town Hall during tax season. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Elma
P
01/12/2006
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Positive Impact: The Elma Town Board, meeting in a work session Wednesday, agreed to let the Elma Library Board use $10,000 of the $20,000 budgeted for library capital improvements and $4,000 in surplus funds to meet library payroll over the next six months. Elma owns the library building and budgets for repairs and upkeep, with the county paying for everything else. Library trustee Rich Walter told the Town Board the library is $50,000 short despite making three full-time positions part-time at a savings of $29,000. However, the library will receive $6,000 from the county, and officials hope to get $15,000 to $18,000 in grant money and another $18,000 through fund-raisers. The $14,000 from the town will help the library operate at the state minimum of 35 hours a week. Before the county's fiscal crisis, the library was open 43 hours a week. It is now funded by the county to be open 28 hours. The board also agreed to let the library hold a book and baked goods sale in the lobby of Town Hall during tax season. (From the Buffalo News)  

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Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
01/09/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Buffalo and Erie County Public Library (B&ECPL), NY, which laid off nearly one-third of its full-time staff and closed 16 branches last year, is working with a $25.6 million budget for 2006, a 24.5 percent reduction from 2004. In response, effective January 1, B&ECPL established a new development office in order to seek supplemental revenue. County property taxes in the amount of $21.7 million account for 85 percent of the budget. While state aid and library fines and fees make up most of the difference, no additional capital funds for new library materials are included in the budget. (from Library Hotline)  

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Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn
P
01/06/2006
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Potential Fundraising Activities: THE BROOKLYN Public Library plans to launch a multimillion-dollar fund-raising campaign for its proposed $85 million Visual and Performing Arts Library. The campaign for the innovative Downtown Brooklyn library - the first in the city to combine visual and performing arts collections - aims to raise public and private money. How the library will be funded once it opens its doors is an open question, officials conceded yesterday. So far, the library has been awarded $10 million by the city for construction of an ultramodern, five-story facility. Designed by award-winning Mexican architect Enrique Norten, it is planned for Flatbush and Lafayette Aves. "The next task is to raise $70 [million] to $85 million," said Brooklyn Public Library Executive Director Ginnie Cooper. But critics questioned the idea of putting up an extravagant, specialized library at a time when budget cuts have meant that many borough branches have limited hours. "I've consistently advocated that libraries in my district be open at least six [full] days [a week]," said City Councilwoman Letitia James, (WFP-Prospect Heights), "particularly in the areas where the literacy rate is low." The Clinton Hill branch in her district - like many others in the borough - is closed Sundays and open only three full days each week. She also said that officials have not explained how they will raise the funds to cover operating costs for the new library. "It raises serious questions about [the new library] operating without government funds," the councilwoman said. Some Brooklyn library users agreed. "This library has been closed a lot," said Flatbush resident Paul Richardson of the Brooklyn Heights branch. "I would go for keeping this one open more and not having a new one at all." But library officials defended the proposed new facility. "We have to find new sources of revenue," said trustee Danny Simmons. "That doesn't mean we don't continue to expand." Cooper said the funding concerns are real - and conceded that the proposed library might never be built. "We hope we can do this," she said. Cooper noted that more than 20,000 new apartments are planned for downtown Brooklyn in the next decade, adding, "We're going to have a huge influx of people to serve." (from Daily News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
01/05/2006
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Positive Impact: In March 2000, voters shot down a proposed $8.5 million bond to fund renovations to the Chappaqua Library on South Greeley Avenue. Since then, library officials have been setting aside money from capital funds to bankroll the project internally. That saving has paid off. Library Director Mark Hasskarl said a projected $1.5 million expansion to the library will officially begin after bids are opened Jan. 10. "The changes we are proposing to make are significant for our patrons," Hasskarl said. People visiting the library Dec. 29 seemed enthusiastic about the project. "We all use the library and so the better it can be, the better it is for all of us," Leila Li of Chappaqua said. "That it is being done without raising taxes is great." The library bond was proposed just seven weeks before voters had to decide whether to approve the building of Seven Bridges Middle School. Hasskarl said that residents were unwilling to pay for both a new library and a new school, so they voted against the library proposal. Since then, Hasskarl said, library trustees and staff members decided to fund the project in phases. The library will pay for the initial improvements, and then plans to propose future projects to the community in the form of a bond. "We hope that when people see the initial improvements it will generate further enthusiasm," he said. Hasskarl said any surplus money has been going into the desired expansion of the building, which was constructed in 1976 and has been in operation for 27 years. "We want to be cautious and fiscally responsible," he said. This would be the first major renovation to the building since 1987, when a children's program room was added. Expansion plans involve adding 2,420 square feet to the 22,716-square-foot facility. The additional space will house the library's magazine collection and provide for a browsing area and place to display seasonal or themed materials. The adult fiction, circulation administrative offices and reference desks will be moved so they are adjacent to the new space. The library's recordings area is expected to be expanded, making those collections directly accessible to patrons. Presently, most CDs, tapes and DVDs are directly accessible, but certain items, such as boxed sets, are not due to space limitations. After the renovation, visitors who are checking out both book and audio items can breeze through one line. Presently, they have to go to one circulation desk to check out books and another for movies, music or books on tape. Library Board President Mitchell Make said he is happy the library is able to make these improvements. "The plan will result in a beautiful and cost-effective way to provide much-needed space for the library's collections of books an (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
P
12/30/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Although early results showed the defeat of a November proposal for expanding the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, the outcome was reversed just a day later after a recount showed the $13.6-million plan had passed. Elections Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said the error was caused by officials who were typing vote counts inaccurately into a computer program. Chemung County residents approved a referendum to create a new library district for the Steele Memorial Library and four other libraries by transferring $1.6 million from the county budget. By a vote of 935–807, Geneva citizens approved changing their public library from an association to a school district library, which means that its funding will come from residents of the same communities as the school district. The Lyons Public Library, which lost a $2.5-million bond in 2004, easily won a $1.5-million for relocation and expansion of its building. In other November elections, voters approved a budget of $58,000 for the Germantown Library, a $51,000 increase over the usual contribution from the town. A proposition to raise annual funding for the Nassau Free Library from $20,000 to $79,000 failed by just 25 votes. The Poughkeepsie Public Library District’s $3.92-million budget, an 8% increase, was approved, as was nearly $697,000 in capital funds for new and renovated buildings. A joint vote to increase the budget of the Kinderhook Memorial Library by $38,478 and that of Valatie Free Library by $21,524 passed. Voters in Milton said no to a proposal that would have provided $15,000 for computer upgrades at the Sarah Hull Hallock Free Library. Mount Kisco residents approved a measure authorizing the village to borrow $8 million over 20 years for a new library, while Peekskill voters agreed to boost the Field Library’s budget by $25,000. Voters in Jamestown rejected a special tax to support the James Prendergast Library September 20. In June, Gloversville residents backed a $200,000 tax levy for the library by a margin of just 42 votes, and a plan to expand the Newark Public Library’s tax base failed by 30 votes. While a budget proposal for the North Merrick Library failed May 17 by just three votes, a revote in June narrowly passed by the same margin. In the Mid-Hudson Library System, budget decisions included the passage of a $200,000 tax appropriation and a $10,000 technology appropriation for the Town of Esopus Library; approval of a plan to borrow $1 million for capital improvements to the Kingston Library, along with a $425,148 tax appropriation; a failed budget vote for the Mahopac Library; and an increase of 7.9% plus passage of a proposal to raise $50,000 a year for six years for the Marlboro Free Library. A month earlier, voters in Greenburgh gave a green light to a library expansion and renovation by passing a $19.9-million referendum; a $4.3-million budget for the Haverstraw King’s Daughters Public Library, which would raise taxes by 4.1%, was also approved. (from American Libraries referenda)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Pulaski Public Library Syracuse
P
12/19/2005
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Positive Impact: There will be more best-sellers and children's books on the shelves of Pulaski Public Library, thanks to last week's budget vote by the Oswego County Legislature. Lawmakers voted to fund the Oswego County Council of Libraries with $50,000. It is the first money the council has received from the county since 2003. Council President Margaret Weigel said the money will be distributed to the 10 libraries in the county. Each, she said, will get $4,000. The remaining $10,000 will be distributed among the libraries according to a formula that takes into account other funding, usage and the population served. Weigel, director of Pulaski Public Library, said the added money will be a big help at her library. Weigel said her library has an annual budget of less than $80,000, meaning the county money represents more than a 5 percent increase in revenue. Smaller libraries, such as those in Orwell, Parish and Hannibal, will see an even bigger percentage impact, she said. In Hannibal, Marlene Sutcliffe, the library manager, said the county money will go into the general fund and help pay bills. "I'd like to use it for books, " she said, "but we have oil bills, water bills and maintenance." Hannibal Free Library's roof leaked recently, she said, and that would take some money to fix. Sutcliffe also is concerned that word of the county money will cause taxpayers in the town or village of Hannibal to balk at supporting the library. However, she said, she was happy with the Legislature's support for her library, which has an annual budget of less than $20,000. Weigel said that her library is a "popular material library," and that she'll be using the new money to buy more books and supplies. Weigel has attended many legislative sessions since lawmakers voted to eliminate library funding in the 2004 budget. In 1995, the county funded the library council with $94,000. In 2002, that had climbed to $105,000. It dropped to $89,000 in 2003 before falling to zero the next year. In recent months, Weigel has regularly addressed the Legislature, urging members to restore funding to previous levels. On Thursday, she and other library council members and supporters applauded after lawmakers amended the budget to include the $50,000. (from The Post Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
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12/16/2005
Negative Impact: The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board put its final stamp on what arguably has been the most tumultuous year in the library system's history. The board Thursday adopted a budget for next year totaling $25.3 million, although the budget approval was essentially a formality. In anticipation of receiving less money from Erie County, library officials for months have been paring down the budget for 2006. The public already is seeing the results: large numbers of layoffs, funding cuts for 16 libraries and hours scaled back at the libraries that are staying open. The library tax levy will be the same as this year. But the total amount of financial support from Erie County is some $7 million less -- or a 25 percent budget decrease -- than what it was in 2004, when county cuts began, said Kenneth H. Stone, the library system's chief financial officer. The 2006 budget, in fact, is smaller than it was in 1997, Stone said. "Not many households can operate on what they did 10 years ago," Stone said. "That's the heart of the problem." The budget is made up of $2.1 million in state aid; nearly $1 million in anticipated revenues from library fines and fees; a $550,000 in fund balance; and $21.7 million in county tax dollars. "Erie County support totals more than 85 percent of the library's revenue," said Chairwoman Rebecca L. Pordum. "No matter how it is approached, $21.7 million is not enough to deliver even a facsimile of the record-breaking service the library delivered in 2004." More than 75 percent of the library's expenses are for employee salaries and benefits, while 10 percent is for utilities and maintenance. Eight percent, or nearly $2 million, of next year's budget will be used to buy new library materials. That's half of what the system would normally spend on new materials. "Of the 36 libraries that will receive county funding in 2006, each must do much more with far less," Pordum said. The board also made three personnel moves Thursday. Library Director Michael C. Mahaney was reappointed for another three-year term, expiring Dec. 31, 2008. Mahaney will continue on at his $102,000 annual pay, at least until July, when the board can consider a raise. The board also appointed its retiring chief operating officer, Ruth A. Collins, to manage the library's newly created development office, which will serve as the system's primary fund-raiser. Collins, a 35-year veteran of the county library system, will retire from her post as chief operating officer by the beginning of the year. She will then take over in her new role, for at least a year, at a $48,000 stipend. The board then appointed Mary Jean Jakubowski, assistant deputy director of human resources, to a three-year term as chief operating officer at an annual salary of $85,000. (from The Buffalo News) -----  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
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12/16/2005
Negative Impact: Two more Erie County libraries closed their doors for good on Friday. The Martin Luther King Branch on William Street had been a neighborhood fixture in Buffalo since 1974. "It's the end of an era, because I have been coming to this library for a very long time, and I'm going to miss it," said library patron Veronica Patton. Also closing was the Depew Branch. "It's a sad day, because people love this library, and as hard as it is to close it, we're losing some wonderful staff," said Lancaster Library Director Bill Sutton. Anticipating a $7 million dollar loss, or 25%, in county funding since 2004, the library system has been gradually closing 16 of its original 52 branches. Approximately 100 staff members were cut, as well. Most libraries on the list have closed. Those remaining are Parkside Village, closing December 24, and North Jefferson, which is to close sometime in early 2006. However, a new library, the Frank Merriweather Jr. Branch, will open nearby on East Utica and Jefferson. The opening date has not yet been set. The Williamsville Library was on the closure list, but remains open because Williamsville stepped in with funding to keep it open. The West Falls Branch is scheduled to reopen in January through the work of volunteers. There are also volunteer efforts to keep the Mead and Brighton branches open. Materials from the MLK branch are being transferred to other libraries. The Depew Branch is holding a library materials sale December 28 from 1pm-8pm, December 29 from 10am to 4pm, and on December 30 from 10am to 4pm.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
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12/16/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: A chocolate-tasting scheduled next week will be especially sweet for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. The library system will receive all the proceeds from the fund-raiser, sponsored by Choco-Logo, a Buffalo chocolate factory. Expect the event to be the first of many more to come for the library system, as it tries to turn the page on a difficult year of library cuts, closings and layoffs. The experience of the past year has prompted library officials to renew their commitment to seek private donations, reaching out to businesses and holding fund-raisers, like the one Tuesday at Choco-Logo. The Library Board, in fact, recently created a development office to pursue private funding more aggressively. While fund-raisers for county libraries have been done before -- the system already has a nonprofit library foundation working on its behalf -- they have taken on a new urgency in light of the county's fiscal situation. "Fund raising is really going to be crucial, because it's going to help support general operations and the basics like materials," said Ami Patrick, spokeswoman for the Buffalo & Erie County Library. "I think in 2006, there will really be a lot of time and energy spent reaching out to the community to help support the system," Patrick said. Appeals already have started. When county lawmakers didn't borrow money for new library materials this year, some of the libraries around the county started holding fund-raisers on their own. The Eden Library's "Bucks for Books" campaign seeks community donations to buy library materials. A chicken barbecue and silent auction in Orchard Park raised nearly $7,000 to help the Orchard Park Library replace cut programs, said Orchard Park Library Director Ann Laubacker. "It's getting tough," Laubacker said. "The cost-cutting is starting to show." Choco-Logo owner Dan Johnson approached library officials about sponsoring the fund-raiser. The chocolate-sampling benefit will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Choco-Logo Confectionary Design, 141 Broadway, between Elm Street and Michigan Avenue. Tickets are $10, with all proceeds going to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. For reservations, call 858-8900, or go to www.buffalolib.org. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester
P
12/15/2005
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Positive Impact: Clarkstown school district voters yesterday approved a $5.1 million budget to support the New City and West Nyack libraries that will raise taxes 3.6 percent. "It passed easily," New City Library Director Richard Trevelen said last night of the tally, which was 585 to 265. The approved budget appropriates $189,000 more than the current spending plan. For property assessed at $200,000, the budget requires $338.03, an increase of $11.72. The bulk of the budget - $4.2 million - goes to the New City Library, which is much larger than the West Nyack Free Library. Residents voted down the library budget by 12 votes two years ago, but overwhelmingly approved the spending plan last year. "It sounds like we're getting back to a sense of normalcy," Trevelen said. He has said the library's largest spending increases were $29,000 for health insurance and $32,000 for library materials, such as books, CDs and DVDs. He said the spending increase on materials kept pace with rising prices. While the New City library's total proposed budget increase is 3.5 percent, Trevelen said the taxpayer-funded amount will increase by only 3.2 percent, to under $4.1 million. Other revenue sources, including a $58,000 appropriation from a recent budget surplus, make up the difference. West Nyack library Director Rita Fogelman has said the library's total budget and the amount that is taxpayer funded would increase by 5 percent. She attributed the largest increase to salaries, up about $23,000. Fogelman said money will be set aside in case the library decides to hire a new part-time librarian or expand the hours of an existing employee. She said the library has one reference librarian working Sundays, and she was considering having two work. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Marilla Free Library Buffalo
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12/12/2005
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Positive Impact: The Marilla Free Library will remain open, thanks to $18,000 in funding in the town budget. The Town Board last week authorized Supervisor John Foss to sign a contract with the library, which will keep it open 35 hours a week to maintain its state charter. The board put $18,000 in its 2006 budget to keep the library open. Foss said the board was committed to the library. "Even to the point they asked me if the $18,000 was enough," he said. The library had been on a list of 20 that were slated to close because of the county's fiscal crisis. But when the town agreed to contribute money to keep it open, it was removed from the list. Marty Mummery, president of the Library Board of Trustees, who co-signed the contract with Foss, thanked the board and "all those that love their library. The best way to support us is to come in and take out a book." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo and Erie County
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12/10/2005
Negative Impact: About 280 full- and part-time employees at the Buffalo (N.Y.) & Erie County Public Library are preparing to be laid off before Christmas. They knew the layoffs were coming, since some $7 million had been cut from the library system's budget because of a budget shortfall due to a cut in property taxes and raising Medicaid costs. But many say they were blindsided by how the layoffs -- based on seniority -- occurred. For example, Nancy Mueller, who began as a librarian in 1984, worked 18 years in a library in Cheektowaga, then took a promotion last year to become the Kenmore branch manager, the Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported Saturday. Under a new civil service ruling, Mueller receives seniority credit only for her time as a librarian in Kenmore. While Mueller is being laid off, other who have been in the system for less time are keeping their jobs. Mueller is expected to take a job at the Kenmore Library working for her former subordinate -- at half her former pay. (from UPI)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library New York
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12/05/2005
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Fundraising Results: A portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart owned by the New York Public Library was sold by Sotheby’s auction house to an anonymous bidder for $8.14 million November 30. Although the price was a record for a U.S. artist at auction, the New York Times said December 1 that it was well below the $10 million to $15 million presale estimate. A second portrait of Washington consigned to Sotheby’s failed to sell. The two portraits were among 16 works from its art collection that the library announced in April it would sell to raise money for its endowment. That decision prompted criticism from some museum curators and art lovers who felt the library was divesting works crucial to the city’s civic heritage. Although the $15.6-million total for the library’s collection, which includes Sotheby’s commission, fell far short of the $22-million to $31-million presale estimate, NYPL President Paul LeClerc observed, “That’s another $14 million for the endowment. That adds up to a substantial amount of money.” He added, “I don’t think the bad publicity necessarily tilted things one way or another.” In May, Sotheby’s sold the gem of the library’s offerings—an 1849 Hudson River School landscape by Asher B. Durand titled Kindred Spirits—to Wal-Mart heiress Alice L. Walton for about $35 million. The Times reported that some dealers speculated that Walton had also purchased the Washington portrait. (from American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Geneva Free Library Geneva
P
11/28/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: In Steamboat Springs, the East Routt Library District will be able to renovate, expand and maintain the Bud Werner Memorial Library after voters approved Referendum 5A, a mill levy to fund the upkeep for the new facility, a 21,000 square foot expansion project, plus a remodel of the existing 9000 square foot building. Referendum 5B was also approved, an $11.4 million bond issue to fund construction. The new mill levy will take effect in 2007. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
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11/18/2005
Negative Impact: Niagara Falls officials will appeal a ruling by a New York State Supreme Court judge ordering the city to pay the full amount allocated to its two libraries in the 2005 budget. The library sued to obtain the full $2.1 million after the financially strapped city said last year that it could only afford about half that amount. The library board said the city’s appeal was an attempt to stall the judge’s order and that it denied the library funds it needs to stay open. Library attorney Ned Perlman said he will ask the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division to hear the case as soon as possible. The city filed the appeal November 10, the day after the library board filed a motion in the State Supreme Court seeking that the remaining portion of the money due the library be paid in one lump sum. City policy is to release money to the library after the city controller reviews the expense request, the Niagara Gazette reported November 14. The library’s motion claims the city refused to pay $3,000 to reimburse the library for money it had used to set up a new bank account. “Unless the court intervenes, the library trustees will be denied control of library monies, which is a clear violation of the prior judgment of the court,” wrote Perlman in an affidavit to the court. (American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Albany Public Library Albany
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11/16/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: If Elissa Kane gets her wish, making a donation to the Albany Public Library could someday be as routine as carrying a library card. Kane is the new development director at the library, which launched its first fundraising drive Monday by mailing an appeal to 20,000 of its most regular visitors. "This is a test for us. We want to get a sense of who wants to donate," said Kane, who was hired in September. "We've already gotten donations from people with some really lovely notes." Albany is joining a growing list of public libraries that use not-for-profit fundraising arms to collect tax-deductible donations at a time when taxpayer support is under increasing pressure. The library created the Albany Library Foundation in 1998, but it languished for years without any staff. The current effort comes as the library opened a new branch in North Albany this week and weighs a multimillion-dollar rebuilding plan that includes three new neighborhood libraries. In 2002, Mayor Jerry Jennings split the library from the city budget and supported the creation of an independently elected library board to make decisions, borrow money and raise its own taxes. This year, the owner of a $100,000 home paid about $105 in library taxes. That could go up if voters approve a borrowing referendum that could be offered next year on the expansion proposal. "There is a growing trend among public libraries to create foundations," said Michael J. Borges, executive director of the New York Library Association. "It opens up more doors for the libraries. Foundations have a better chance of getting grants from other foundations and corporate sponsors." (from the Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
11/15/2005
Negative Impact: City officials have decided to appeal a September court ruling that ordered the city to fully fund Niagara Falls Public Library this year. State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle had ordered the city to pay the Niagara Falls Public Library Board the balance of $2.1 million appropriated in the 2005 budget. The Library Board sued for the full amount after the city transferred only $1 million at the start of 2005, and a referendum to separate the library from the city and create a new property tax to support it failed with voters in June. Assistant Corporation Counsel Thomas M. O'Donnell said the city filed an appeal Thursday after he learned reporters had obtained new court papers filed against the city by the Library Board before the city received official copies. The Library Board last week filed an show-cause order, contending that it has been difficult to get the city to give the library the remaining funds and that the city has interfered with library personnel matters. During its Monday work session, the City Council went into executive session -- in which reporters and members of the public are not allowed to be present -- to discuss the library case with the city administration and the Law Department. City Administrator Daniel S. Bristol requested the closed session when Council Chairman Charles Walker asked about the library's request to have the remainder of the allocated funds -- estimated at nearly $447,000 -- fully transferred to a library account. Bristol would not comment on what was discussed during the half-hour closed meeting but said afterward that if the library wants to be a separate entity or change the way bills are paid, he wants to draw up a memorandum of understanding. "We heard the city's side of the story," Walker said after the executive session. "We heard that they're paying the bills they're supposed to." Library Board attorney Edward P. Perlman said Monday that he could not serve the city with official papers until Doyle stamped them and had not realized the judge was on vacation last week when he filed them in court and gave them to reporters. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
P
11/14/2005
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Positive Impact: The Marilla Town Board has adopted a 2006 budget of $2,282,075, a 4 percent increase from this year's figure, featuring a tax rate of $2.31 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The budget reflects a $133,117 increase from this year's figure. Included in the plan is $20,000 from the general fund to help the Libraryboard of trustees keep the town's library open. This will have not tax implications for residents, Town Supervisor John R. Foss said. Foss said that the budget features no new projects and that officials are tightening the town's fiscal belt in anticipation of any surprises from Erie County. Foss said the town has plenty of general fund reserves. Marilla is one of two towns in the county -- Elma is the other -- that do not impose a general fund tax. The general fund budget of $775,200 is not funded through taxes because revenues offset expenditures. The budget also features a 3 percent, across-the-board salary increase. (from Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Elmira
P
11/14/2005
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Positive Impact: One of the most pleasant surprises out of Tuesday's elections was the overwhelming approval in Chemung County of a library district. The 65 percent approval margin represented a mandate from voters who, in effect, said that: * They cared about their libraries enough to move library funding away from the politically driven county legislature into a system in which voters, not legislators, would have ultimate fiscal control and the final say over future library budgets. * They trusted Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli when he vowed to remove the $1.6 million the county had provided for libraries from future budgets. Santulli, by the way, must not have been too sure the library district would pass. He included the $1.6 million in the county budget released last week, perhaps as insurance in case the district failed. During his budget presentation, Santulli said that the $1.6 million would be subtracted from the 2006 budget, thus reducing county taxes even more than the 2.9 percent he had in his original proposal. County taxpayers will still have to cover the cost of libraries, so the $1.6 million doesn't disappear from the tax burden. It just shows up on a different line in their tax bills. In fact, what residents did when they approved the district on Tuesday was also approve a $1.96 million budget that covers a 3 percent inflation increase plus about $304,000 that the towns of Erin, Elmira, Horseheads and Big Flats and the village of Horseheads currently chip in for libraries. The new district erases all those separate municipal funding streams and spreads the cost across every taxpayer in Chemung County. Most important it takes the annual anxiety out of whether the county's public libraries will have to cut staff, hours or even libraries -Southside and Elmira Heights branches, for instance -because of county budget problems. Opponents to the district, some of whom wrote letters to the editor during the campaign, thought the district was a flawed idea. But it wasn't. Put together by a task force of interested community members, the district preserves a resource that has universal appeal in Chemung County and that anyone can afford to access. By approving this district, voters showed they believe that public libraries are an essential part of this community. Their statement on Tuesday was nothing short of historic. (from Star-Gazette)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Elmira
P
11/09/2005
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Positive Impact: Chemung County residents voted Tuesday to give themselves more say in library funding to help preserve the Steele Memorial Library system. Voters approved a referendum to create a new library district, 9,170 to 4,842. Under the referendum, the existing library boards will be replaced by an elected board of trustees made up of representatives from each of the county's 15 legislative districts. Each year, the board will propose a budget and voters will go to the polls to adopt or reject it. If a proposed budget is rejected, the previous year's budget will automatically remain in place. "What it really means is whether library resources go up or down is completely in the hands of the voters," said Marc Chevalier, co- chairman of the library district task force. "We trust the folks of Chemung County to protect this valuable resource." The vote also means $1.6 million in the proposed 2006 Chemung County budget will be removed this morning, County Executive Tom Santulli said. "We said that money will be removed, so it will mean no increase to the property taxpayer," Santulli said. Residents who voted for the district were concerned mostly about preserving library services. "Our libraries are very important," said Loretta Larsen of Horseheads. "I've always grown up with a library, so we should have one and keep it going. I don't want to lose them." Marcia Hudock of Big Flats also doesn't want to see any more library cuts. "We should try to keep our libraries active and viable, and I'd hate to see any of our libraries close," Hudock said. "Every town and every neighborhood should have a library." (from the Star Gazette)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Alden
P
11/08/2005
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Positive Impact: With the Town of Alden paying to keep its library open next year, the Town Board Monday unanimously approved the 2006 budget that will raise taxes nearly 5 percent for property owners. The final budget figure is $3.78 million, with the general fund budget up by $14,000. Some of the increase was attributed to a decision to use $30,000 to contract library services because the town library was marked to be closed in 2006 by Erie County due to budget constraints. The town has agreed to work with the County Library Board to fund operations and keep the building open. (from Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Mount Vernon Public Library Mount Vernon
P
11/07/2005
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Positive Impact: The Mount Vernon Public Library, NY, part of the Westchester Library System (WLS), Ardsley, reopened to the public October 31 after an eight-week closure for repairs. Library staffers were placed on unpaid furlough and began returning to work October 24, on a phased-in schedule. The temporary staff layoff was necessary, according to a WLS statement, because of environmental concerns as well as budget constraints. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Chili
P
11/07/2005
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Positive Impact: In fall 2004, Chili Supervisor Tracy Logel and the library board of trustees locked horns over the library's budget. Strong words were exchanged, with Logel questioning the financial management of the library. The dispute culminated with librarian Bernadette Foster resigning and going to the Greece Public Library. This year, the library board recommended an increase of more than 9 percent to $929,628, which would fund building improvements, such as expanding the children's wing, and cover increased insurance costs. But the tentative budget,completed last month, called for only a 2 percent increase to $865,125. However, after the two sides met several times in late October, the library's budget was increased 5.83 percent over last year's $848,125. "The town started understanding a little more of what libraries deal with, and they listened. It was much easier this year," said Edward Schuler, president of the library board. "We gave a little and they gave a little." The meetings included Logel, Town Board library liaison Michael Slattery, town Comptroller Dianne O'Meara, library Director Jennifer Ries-Taggart and several members of the library board. Slattery said he believes the key this year was improved communication. He said the library board better comprehends how the rising health and fuel costs affected next year's proposed budget. "They understand what we're going through, and there was a lot of compromise by both parties. (The library director) has done a great job in communicating information back and forth," said Slattery. "I am excited for the library and pleased that they have received a great deal." What's at stake Taxpayer dollars and quality of life. The town of Chili and the library were able to come up with a compromise budget that would increase the library's allocation by nearly 6 percent over last year. (from Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Nassau Free Public Library Nassau
P
11/03/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Voters will have a say next week whether the Nassau Free Library gets a permanent, fixed increase in annual funding from the town. Proposition 3 on the ballot on Election Day asks town voters to set the annual funding from the town to the library at $79,000, up from about $20,000 the library has received in annual town funding over the past couple of years. The referendum would set up a separate budget line on the annual town budget for the library and fix a sum of $79,000 annually to be disbursed to the library. The town has not had a separate library budget line, but has provided what it could afford out of the general fund over the years. "This is funding that will go straight back to the voters in the form of library services," said library Director Pat Sahr. "It will also take away the uncertainty of what money we have to work with every year and eliminate the need for us to annually go out and ask the town for money." The small library, located in the village of Nassau, has four part-time employees and a collection of 16,000 items. The increase would cost the owner of a property assessed at $100,000 about $34.50 a year. "Think of that as the cost of taking a family out to see a movie, once," Sahr said. Sahr said the library could not use the money for capital projects, such as an addition to the library, but it would help to increase library hours. "Right now we are open a couple hours this day and a couple hours at a different time of the day next day," Sahr. "We had a survey and that's what people wanted, for the library to be open more hours." The library also wants to increase its outreach programs to other parts of the rural town, Sahr said. Besides the town, the library gets funding from the villages of Nassau ($5,000) and East Nassau ($2,500) as well as the town of Schodack ($16,000). Schodack does not have its own library and pays for their residents to use neighboring libraries. The library's annual budget this year, including grants and donations, is about $60,000, Sahr said. The town announced last week a proposed $1,379,503 combined general fund and highway budget for 2006, which does not include the potential $79,000 library budget. The budget will carry a combined tax for town residents outside the two villages of $3.92 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, a drop of a penny from this year's rate. In order to maintain that tax rate, officials said they will have to find places to cut funding if the library referendum passes. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
North Cheektowaga Library, Brighton branch in Tonawanda Buffalo and Erie County
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11/02/2005
Negative Impact: Two more Erie County libraries closed their doors on Monday, the latest to be shut down because of the county budget crisis. The North Cheektowaga Library and the Brighton branch in the Town of Tonawanda are now closed, although a community group is fighting to resurrect Brighton. Anticipating a cut in county funding and a budget gap of $6 million next year, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Board is in the process of closing 16 of the system's 52 branches. Meanwhile, staff and patrons of the North Cheektowaga branch wish they could have saved their library, just shy of its 40th anniversary. "It's like a second home. I just can't believe it," said Diane Doyle, who has worked there for 27 years. Instead, they are planning a sale of the library's materials. Cazenovia, Kensington, and Northwest will close on November 18. An effort is underway to save Northwest. Blasdell Library closes November 29. Parkside Village is to close December 15, although local leaders are trying to keep it open. The Fronczak, MLK, and Depew branches are to close December  

Positive Impact: They would not be the first in Erie County to save a library. West Falls Library is scheduled to reopen in January through the work of the community. The Mead Library in Buffalo's Lovejoy District was also saved by local patrons, who are in the process of keeping it open as a community reading room. Williamsville refuses to close its library, keeping it open with local funding at least through next year.  

Potential Fundraising Activities: "We've been associated with the community for the past 25 years," said Michael Rizzo, owner of Rizzo's Italian Restaurant and a member of Friends of the Brighton Library. "I grew up not far from here. My sister was a librarian at Brighton years ago. My nieces and nephews go to the library for story hour." Rizzo is holding a spaghetti fund raiser dinner at his restaurant this Sunday, November 6, from noon until 6pm. Rizzo's Italian Restaurant is located at 2763 Eggert Road. They are attempting to raise $13,000 to keep the library open as a community reading room, staffed by volunteers. The town's library board is planning a special meeting on Wednesday at 4pm in the Kensington Library, to discuss delaying Saturday's planned sale of books from Brighton. Those who are trying to save the branch want to delay the sale while they raise money to keep the library open. (from WGRZ TV)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
P
10/30/2005
Negative Impact: The fundamental role of the public library is to provide free access to ideas for everyone -- computers and Internet access for people who don't have them, books and DVDs for people who can't afford them, and librarians who can answer just about any question. Much has been reported about the cuts in the county library system, but they only scratch the surface. The library is about far more than books, or even CDs and DVDs. Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director Michael C. Mahaney has written: "Access to answers in a free and open forum can make the poor rich and the weak powerful. The public library is, perhaps, the greatest equalizer in American society. Here, everyone has a chance to compete on a level playing field. We must never take that for granted." Especially not now, not in Erie County. Here are three examples of how services are declining at our libraries due to the county budget crisis. In 2004, a man visited the Central Library to investigate a company that claimed it would help patent and market his invention for $9,000. The librarian, who was knowledgeable about patents and trademarks, looked at the Federal Trade Commission's Web site and found the company had many judgments and pending cases against it. The man's Google search did not turn up this important information. The librarian discussed the patenting process with him, referred him to the U.S. Patent Office Web site on the library's computers and gave him a list of local patent attorneys. Rather than doing business with a shady company, he ended up hiring a reliable local agent to obtain the patent. He saved himself $4,000 and helped the local economy. He later returned to use the library's small business collection to find ways to market his product. He used the free business databases and signed up for a small business workshop in the computer training lab. In 2005, a woman looking for a job went to the library to get a study book for the upcoming airport security screener exam. The library didn't own a single copy. No new books were ordered for an entire year. The library's $5 million materials budget wasn't funded because of the county budget crisis. This particular book was not yet available for purchase online, nor was it available via interlibrary loan from any other library in the country. Her only recourse was to buy the book directly from the publisher for $39.95. Since the exam was the following week, the publisher would add an extra charge for overnight shipping. She could not afford to buy it. In 2006, a man whose local library branch was shut down goes to the Central Library's Business, Science and Technology Department on a Friday to find a repair manual to help him fix his snowblower. He finds that the department is closed that day, and three quarters of the librarians in the department have been laid off. The general information librarian can't find a single book on snowblowers in the online catalog. The man goes home empty-handed in a snowstorm. He can't get out of his driveway for work on Monday morning. Too bad. The librarians familiar with the collection would have known that repair manuals are listed under "snow thrower." > A severe blow The current Erie County budget crisis has dealt a severe blow to the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. The most publicized repercussion is the closing of 16 of the 52 libraries. Hours of service have been cut at remaining libraries. Support staff, clerical workers and librarians have been laid off or downgraded. Less apparent is that a new generation of talented, enthusiastic librarians will be sent away from our area, leaving a cadre of workers who will be sorely challenged to keep the doors open, let alone maintain the collections or the level of reference service that one would expect of a metropolitan library. At the Central Library, the spiffy new lobby, Fables Cafe, gift shop and Popular Materials Department that just opened were paid for from capital funds secured before the budget crisis. These new attractions mask the plight of the Central Library. The Grosvenor Room (local history/microfilm/genealogy), the Business, Science and Technology Department and the Children's Room will be closed on Fridays due to the staff shortage. There will be fewer new books, magazines, books on tape, CDs and DVDs on the shelves, and fewer electronic databases to access from home. Special programs have been curtailed or discontinued. The popular computer training lab sits idle with no classes scheduled to teach basic computer skills, Microsoft Office, resume writing, personal finance and consumer resources online. Gone are tours that gave high school students an introduction to library resources before they embarked on research projects. For many, this is their first trip to the Central Library, and most are awestruck by it. Workshops that help nonprofit organizations find grants, entrepreneurs start businesses, and consumers find reliable medical information on the Web have been discontinued. The digitization of rare materials unique to Western New York will be put on hold. (Take a look at the New York to Paris/Thomas Flyer exhibit that was recently put on the Web). The Bookmobile has been parked and locked. > Who will answer questions? Our public libraries are worth saving for many reasons, not the least of which is that Erie County residents ask a lot of questions. In just a two-week period in 2005, professional librarians at the Central Library alone answered more than 3,500 reference questions in person and about 1,700 requests via phone, e-mail and snail mail. Law firms called for copies of industrial standards to pursue court cases; elderly people called with medical concerns; homeowners wanted to trace the history of their homes; students needed help with science projects; nonprofit organizations needed demographic statistics. Librarians are trained to listen well, intuit questions and know print and electronic resources so that they can connect people to the right answers. They jokingly refer to themselves as "Google with a personal touch" or "Yahoo Handmaids," but they do much more than that. They review, evaluate and select digital and printed materials in assigned subject areas, and in doing so become knowledgeable about them. They strive to build well-balanced collections that will serve their users' needs now and in the future. They know things that the online catalog won't reveal. Librarians also create guides and Web directories that bring reliable information to the forefront. They organize programs, work with schools and community groups, teach computer classes, lead book discussion groups and keep up with technological developments. They're happy to give someone the chance to hold rare and valuable books like those in the Milestones of Science collection. Librarians make the library come alive. Without them, we'd simply have a warehouse containing the untold buried treasures of our collective past. > Funding problems In 2004, 85 percent of the library's budget was funded by Erie County. The balance was from state aid, which has been stagnant, and from fines and fees. Such dependence on the county obviously is not wise when the population and tax base are decreasing and the costs of materials and medical insurance for personnel are increasing. The library was well aware of this alarming situation seven years ago. No other metropolitan area of comparable size in the country had as many branches as it tried to support. The Library Board proposed a new system with fewer, better libraries. The outcry against closing any libraries was so loud that the board backed off and county leaders didn't pursue it. The Library Board chose instead to study operations and find ways to lessen costs, raise funds and still maintain service. They have worked hard throughout the process to ensure equity and fairness in the distribution of resources. Under County Executive Joel A. Giambra's budget, the library will have at least $7 million less in funding in 2006 than it had two years ago. Only 36 libraries will be funded, and there will be no capital budget for materials. In reaction, Library Board Chair Rebecca Pordum wrote: "The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library neither created nor contributed to the fiscal crisis that confronts Erie County. On the contrary, the library, its staff and its many patrons are innocent bystanders. Never has the library run a deficit, overestimated its revenue or outspent its income. Arguably, the library returns more per tax dollar received than any other arm of county government and continues to accomplish more with less year after year." The library, she said, is prepared to face the harsh reality, shoulder the burden and cut its operations to the bone. It doesn't seem fair, but that's the way it is. In hindsight, it's easy to say that the next time a politician proposes a huge tax cut, no matter how tempting it is, we ought to take a second look. Or the next time our Library Board proposes a sensible plan for the future well being of the system, we ought to give it careful, rational consideration. > Fighting for survival The library is injured, but it's not dead yet. Two communities with libraries slated for closing have figured out a way to keep their libraries open. Some private entities have donated funds to help the Central Library purchase books for the system. Digicon Corp. donated 300 copies of the new Harry Potter book. The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) donated $5,000 toward books for the small business collection, and an individual donated the same amount for new literature books. Dedicated librarians, who believe passionately that what they are doing for the community is vital, have not stopped trying do the best job they can with what they have. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
P
10/27/2005
Negative Impact: The Niagara Falls Public Library Board of Trustees plans to file a lawsuit against the city this week after waiting more than a month for the city to act on a court ruling that the library was insufficiently funded this year. State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle decided on Sept. 13 that the city appropriated $2.1 million for the library in its 2005 budget and a $1 million transfer at the start of the year didn't meet its obligation. The library board sued the city to gain the full $2 million after a plan to fully fund the library through a separate tax failed with voters in June. Little mention of the lawsuit has been made by city officials, who have said over the past month that the city's Law Department would decide how much the city owed the library by talking with the Library Board's attorney, Edward Perlman. Perlman said Wednesday that the library is asking that the balance of the funding -- $446,000 -- be deposited into the library's bank account. City Administrator Daniel S. Bristol said the city agreed to fund the library as the judge ordered but that historically it has paid the library's invoices as they have come due. "At no time in the past has the city ever advanced funding to the library," Bristol said. He said he sees no reason to hand over a lump sum to the library. Perlman said the library had not planned to ask for the full sum until recently, when it has been asked to supply receipts for expenditures. While this is a requirement for all city departments, Perlman said the library is not a city department but a separate corporation that is kept accountable for its spending by the Library Board of Trustees. "The money is our responsibility," said library board President Dolores Marino. "The city's job is to provide the funding, not to micromanage the funding. They do not have the power to do that." Marino said all library spending is documented, and she would accommodate anyone who is interested in where money is spent. The board is set to vote at a meeting this morning on whether to sue the city for the second time this year. Marino said that lawsuit will include a new dispute between the city and library regarding library personnel. Library Director Betty Babanoury said the city sent a worker to the library early this week to fill a position that she had already filled two weeks before. She said she was told to fire the employee she had hired. The full-time cleaner position, which was posted between Sept. 23 and 29, was filled by Babanoury on Oct. 5 with a temporary worker who had worked part time in the library as a cleaner since March, she said. Babanoury said the person she chose was also on a list of recommended temporary/seasonal employees to be considered for the position that was given to her by the city. She said in the past 10 years the city has never taken over the role of filling library positions. Bristol said Wednesday that he thought Babanoury was confused about who fills positions. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Brighton Library Tonawanda
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10/26/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: A group of Town of Tonawanda residents are working against time to save their neighborhood library, and they say the Town Board is doing little to help stop the clock. The group, which calls itself Friends of the Brighton Library, hope to raise private funds to keep the Fries Road branch operating until a new “hub” library is built in the next few years. To do so, they’re asking the Town Board to “mothball” the library, locking down the building and its collection until March so the group can come up with the money and an operating plan. But Town Board officials say they have no control over keeping the materials in place, even though Erie County Library Director Mike Mahaney has offered to hand over materials to municipalities partnering with non-profit groups to keep doomed branches open. Brighton was one of three libraries the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Board voted to close earlier this year after county funding for libraries was slashed for 2006. It is scheduled to close Oct. 31 and a book sale to sell of the remaining collection will be held Nov. 5. Greenhaven Library shut down Sept. 30 and the Parkside Village Library is also slated to close at the end of the year. The Friends are fighting the closure because they say it leaves no library for Town residents who live north of Sheridan Drive. The remaining two libraries — the Kenmore and Kenilworth branches — are located in Kenmore and the southeast corner of the Town, respectively. While Town Board officials have agreed to lock down the Brighton Library building, which it owns, it has so far refused to back the Friends’ effort to keep the collection from being liquidated. “That can’t just go halfway and say, ‘There, we helped you,’ they have to go all the way,” said Kathleen Byrnes, 16, who lead the charge to keep Brighton open and has collected 2,700 signatures from residents demanding that the Town take action. “If they went to the county and said, ‘We’re willing to keep the library for their use,’ the county would say, ‘OK, we’ll let them keep the books.’ But they would not sign that letter.” When Byrnes and others from the group — which has about 10 core members — went before the Town Board last week to request its support, only Councilman Dan Crangle agreed to sign a letter being sent to the library system’s board of trustees asking them not to sell off the materials. Crangle felt someone had to speak for the 2,700 who signed their names to Byrnes’ petition. Other officials said it’s too soon to throw their full support behind the group. They first want to see a firm plan in place. “That’s an irresponsible fool signing that letter because he hasn’t seen a plan,” said Councilman Joe Shiah, who said he refused the Friends’ request. “The only letters I’ve seen that says we have a plan and we’ll raise the money and we’ll get the people. But no letter has said we have ‘x’ number of dollars, and these particular people committing to these particular hours.” But Byrnes said the Town’s plan to build a new library is just as shaky. County Executive Joel Giambra has pledged $2.5 million in tobacco funds, and a draft memorandum of understanding is under way. But Town officials have admitted they expect the project to cost more. They’ve since initiated discussions with the Ken-Ton School District to partner in the new library’s construction, which could draw in and additional $4 million in state aid. Meanwhile, in response to criticism from the Town Board, the Friends have submitted a draft operating budget to the Town’s Library Board, which oversees the Town’s five libraries and must also back the group’s plan in order to keep the Brighton collection from being sold. In a press release Wednesday, Town Library Board Chair John Long said he submitted the $59,000 plan to library system officials and is awaiting a response. But Byrnes is concerned that time is running out. If the books in Brighton are sold, it will be hard to resurrect a library, she said. “That really leaves us at a dead end. There would be no materials,” she said. “We’d really have no options left.” (from Tonawanda News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo and Erie County
s
10/24/2005
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Positive Impact: The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, NY, held a reopening ceremony for its renovated central library. Funded by a 1999 $1 million-plus bequest from the Krieger Brothers, the 1964 building was upgraded to include an improved popular collections area with an adjacent café. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Huntington Free Library Ithaca
a
10/21/2005
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Positive Impact: Funds will go to the conservation and preservation of the Huntington Free Library Native American Collection at Cornell University Federal dollars granted as part of the Save America's Treasures Program U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that $250,000 has been awarded to the Cornell University under the Save America's Treasures Program, funded by the United States Department of the Interior's National Parks Service in conjunction with the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The federal dollars will help fund the conservation and preservation of the Huntington Free Library Native American Collection, which is especially strong in the areas of early voyage and exploration. "The Huntington Free Library Native American collection is an invaluable resource preserving the early history of New York," Schumer said. "These much needed funds will help preserve this treasure, so that generations to come will have access to this great resource." Senator Schumer was instrumental in advocating for Cornell University to receive Save America's Treasures funds. In January, Senator Schumer encouraged many organizations responsible for New York's cultural and historical treasures to apply for funding, stressing the importance of preserving enduring symbols of both national and state pride. (from State News service)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
P
10/21/2005
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Positive Impact: The Niagara Falls Public Libraries may have to do without some new magazines and books next year, but won't have to cut hours, employees or pay rent anymore, several City Council members said Thursday after a work session that reviewed the proposed library budget. Library Director Betty Babanoury told the Council that the mayor's 2006 proposed budget for the library -- $1.6 million -- is about $80,000 short of what she needs to maintain the current level of service. Historically, the library has operated on $1.8 million and drastically reduced its staff over the past 10 years to stay under budget, Babanoury said. "We're telling every department head that we don't want anybody to lose their job," said Councilman Glenn C. Choolokian. "If you can live with that [proposed budget], I think we'll be all right." Babanoury said she would do her best with the proposed funding, although she said the budget for new books, periodicals and subscriptions would likely suffer. "The Library Board has reviewed the budget presented to us, and we've done our best to maintain hours and staff," Babanoury said. That new budget lacks two items usually charged to the library: rent for the city-owned Earl W. Brydges library building and debt service for capital projects. The rent -- $302,681 -- was created and included years ago to increase the total allocation that the city appeared to transfer to the library to meet the state's "maintainance of effort" requirements. Maintenance of effort is a simple formula -- 95 percent of the average of the three previous years' allocation by a municipality -- which the state uses to ensure libraries have a stable source of funding and which the city must meet to receive state grants. Without the rent payment -- which was essentially a paper transfer -- next year's minimum funding level will be less. Babanoury said she was happy to see the rent gone, though, because now the library's budget truly reflects the city's funding level. Several Council members want to see the library produce revenue and suggested that the libraries begin charging individuals who use the library meeting rooms r work with the city to have a coffee shop installed. Babanoury said she would look into any suggestions from city leaders or residents, but noted after the meeting that she had tried a few years ago to interest Starbucks in opening a shop in the library but because of its location, it wasn't expected to bring in enough business. The meeting between city and library leaders was something like the calm after the storm. The city underfunded the libraries by $1 million, or half the usual budget, in 2005, a matter that ended up in court after the Library Board sued the city for a full $2 million appropriation. The city has since been ordered to fully fund the library this year. Babanoury told the Council she'd like to have a better relationship with the city and is looking forward to direct communication with city leaders, rather than through the Library Board's attorney. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
10/21/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: The financially troubled Buffalo & Erie County Public Library hopes to raise money -- and fast. So its board of trustees on Thursday approved creating a development office to serve as the system's primary fund-raiser. What's curious about the move is that the county library system already has the Library Foundation of Buffalo & Erie County, an independent nonprofit group formed in 1991 to help provide private financial support to the system. The foundation, for example, got a local printing company to donate 300 copies of the new Harry Potter book to county libraries last summer. It also sponsors special projects to raise awareness of the system's literary gems. While library officials acknowledge the foundation's contributions, they said that more efforts are needed, especially now with less money from the county forcing library cuts and closings. "In these dire times, we need to have money for materials and programs," said board Chairwoman Rebecca L. Pordum. "We feel we need a development office in place that raises some of that money for us." No additional money would be needed to start the development office, said Library Director Michael C. Mahaney. The duties would be assigned to one of his staff, he said. Mahaney said a more specific plan will be announced in the near future so the project can begin as soon as possible. Library Foundation officials could not be reached to comment Thursday. Library trustee Richard L. Berger was the only board member who voted against the idea of forming a development office. Berger said he did not want to take an administrator away from library duties to do fund raising. He said he hoped library officials and the foundation might be able to work a little closer together to achieve the needed results. In other matters: Mahaney told the board that five of 16 targeted libraries have closed and that more closings are under way. He said library officials have been working with community leaders to find uses for some of the vacated buildings. Pleas were heard from patrons asking that their neighborhood libraries remain open. A number of residents spoke on behalf of the Northwest Library, which is to close Nov. 18. One woman suggested that top library officials take a 10 to 20 percent pay cut so those dollars could be put back into the system. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Northern Onondaga Public Library Syracuse
P
10/20/2005
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Positive Impact: Voters approved the Northern Onondaga Public Library 2006 budget last week. Residents voted 167 to 22 in favor of a $1.7 million budget, which carries a $1.3 million property tax levy. That's up more than $96,314 from last year. It is estimated that the proposed 2006 library tax will result in a library tax rate of $10.56 per $1,000 of assessed value in Cicero and $11.49 per $1,000 of assessed value in Clay. A Clay and Cicero resident owning a $100,000 home could see a $4 increase in taxes, according to library estimates. A Clay resident with a $100,000 home would pay $71 in 2006, up from $67 in 2005. A Cicero resident would pay $69 in 2006, up from $65. (from The Post Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls and Buffalo
P
10/13/2005
Negative Impact: The financial state of Niagara Falls' libraries may become an example. Not an example of health and prosperity, but of the desperate need for more state funding for upstate city libraries in areas with a lot of demand but a shrinking tax base, the state's top library official said Wednesday. State Librarian Janet M. Welch visited the city's two libraries as part of a tour to gather information and assess the situations of struggling libraries across the state. She visited public libraries in Buffalo Tuesday. "In many communities the library is not cut back because it takes such a tiny amount of the budget and serves such a high percentage of the population," she said. However, "Niagara Falls is unique in the level of difficulty of economic decline." Welch said she'll report what she learns about Buffalo and Niagara Falls to elected state officials, who are considering a proposal to establish a new form of state aid for urban libraries. "This would be state aid just for cities that are struggling financially while the needs have increased," Welch said after a tour of the LaSalle Branch Library. Welch said not all libraries across the state are facing the same budget crunch. The story of the state's libraries can be called "the best of times and the worst of times," she said, because downstate cities are expanding and opening libraries while upstate cities with shrinking populations have trouble maintaining funding for their public libraries. She said she is in favor of expanding libraries, especially in cities such as Niagara Falls that have large populations in economic distress, rather than downsizing. "This community needs the library now more than in the past," she said. She said she disagreed with the city's move to underfund its libraries by $1million in the 2005 budget. That action was later overturned in State Supreme Court after the Library Board filed a lawsuit to seek the full $2 million funding. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Westerchester County
P
10/09/2005
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Positive Impact: After years of planning and organizing fundraisers, construction of a $2.5 million library overlooking the Hudson River finally will begin this month. Fourmen Construction Inc. of Peekskill is expected to break ground Oct. 17 on the Dennis P. McHugh Piermont Public Library. The site on Ash Street is currently used as a parking lot. The new library will replace the 1838 Greek revival building on Hudson Terrace, which has become too small, has limited parking and is unaccessible to people with disabilities. "We've been working with our architects and engineers for years, and we finally got the building permit last month," said Miriam Rapport, president of the library board of trustees. "We're just so excited and hoping it will be the center of the village, with programs going on all the time." The 4,000-square-foot library, which has been designed by Nyack-based Colgan Perry Lawler Aurell Architects, is being named after a New York City firefighter and Sparkill resident who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. The L-shaped property - a lot next to the M&T Bank off Piermont Avenue - was donated to the village by Piermont Landing's Carlyle developers and their successors in 1990. In December 2003, voters approved a $1.9 million bond for construction. The library will be built through fundraising, private donations and pledges, including one for $500,000 from the McHugh Foundation, and with money from the sale of the existing library. Ruth Jessup, who has lived on Ash Street for 33 years, said she didn't vote for the bond because at the time she didn't want her taxes to go up. (from The Journal News)  

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Blasdell Library Buffalo
P
10/08/2005
Negative Impact: The Blasdell Library has been around for almost 70 years, but it will close for good Nov. 30. The branch at 54 Madison Ave. was one of 16 local libraries that the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board decided not to fund next year to cut expenses. The Hamburg Public Library Board of Trustees met earlier this week and voted to close the facility, library officials said. Circulation will stop Oct. 31. While the Buffalo & Erie County Library Board board funds the system through a county library tax, individual library boards make the final decision to close a branch based on inadequate funding. It is the last of the 16 libraries to announce a final decision on its fate, after Hamburg and Blasdell officials tried to come up with funds to keep it open. Hamburg and Blasdell officials said they could chip in an additional $20,000, but it wouldn't be enough, said Jack Edson, Hamburg library director. The Hamburg Library, at 102 Buffalo St., and the Lake Shore Branch, at S-4857 Lake Shore Road, will continue to be funded by the county system and will remain open. Unfortunately, Edson said, there was no way of siphoning money from Hamburg and Lake Shore to save the Blasdell Library. "We're really going to be strapped at Hamburg and Lake Shore, as it is," he said. It's unclear what will happen with the building, but Town of Hamburg and village officials are discussing plans for its re-use, Edson said. The library's origin dates to 1936, when the Women of the American Legion Auxiliary went door-to-door to collect books, Edson said. Over the years, the library moved around to three different storefronts on Lake Avenue, until 1954, when the Madison Avenue building was erected. Staff and patrons celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. "We really do feel bad," Edson said. "It's not like we didn't struggle over this issue." (from Buffalo News)  

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Nioga Library System Niagara Falls
P
10/03/2005
Negative Impact: The mayor won't release his proposed 2006 allocation for city libraries until Monday, but he said Friday it is a figure he feels is "adequate." In order to meet the state's "maintenance of effort" for 2006, the city must give a little more than $1.6 million to its libraries, said Jim Tubiolo, business manager for the Nioga Library System. Maintenance of effort is a simple formula -- 95 percent of the average of the three previous years' allocation by a municipality -- which Tubiolo said the state uses to ensure libraries have a stable source of funding. Niagara Falls is considered the main library in the Nioga system, which includes libraries in Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties. Mayor Vince Anello said he is aware of the formula. "I tried to be fair with the library," Anello said of the proposed funding level. "But I had to consider that all the departments are taking a cut." If the city doesn't meet the state's benchmark for a municipality's giving, it endangers the library's state and county grants, which amounted to about $180,000 this year. Anello will present the proposed 2006 budget to the City Council at 3:30 p.m. Monday and said it will include one figure to be allocated to the library. "It will be one figure, and one page on how we got the figure," he said. The city underfunded its libraries by about $1 million at the start of this year in order to balance a budget deficit of about $4 million left over from the previous budget. The library board sued the city to gain the full $2.1 million listed in the budget after a plan to fully fund the library through a separate tax failed with voters in June. State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle decided last month that the city had appropriated $2.1 million for the library in its 2005 budget, and that a $1 million transfer at the start of the year didn't meet its obligation. While the City Council had allocated an additional $400,000 in the middle of the year, Doyle ordered the city to give the full $2,063,292 listed as the allocation to the library in its budget. Anello hopes to avoid any further confusion by listing one number for the library. He said he has done away with the pages of items that usually break down where that money will be spent. He also maintained Friday that Muriel S. White, a longtime former secretary to the City Council, is the best person for a vacant seat on the Library Board. The Council voted to table that issue two weeks ago because it was a walk-on item and some members wanted more time to ask questions. The issue is on Monday's Council agenda. Board President Dolores Marino said Friday she is concerned about the appointment because of an unresolved dispute between White and Library Director Betty Babanoury.  

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Stone Avenue Library Brooklyn
P
10/03/2005
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Positive Impact: Brooklyn Public Library’s Stone Avenue Library was the scene of a reopening celebration on September 29. The 14,252 square foot, 1914 building underwent a two-year, $1.7 million renovation. It is also the home of Heritage House, a cultural center that promotes the collection and study of African American and multiethnic history and culture. (from Library Hotline)  

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Williamsville Amherst
P
10/01/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick on Friday proposed an election year budget that increases next year's tax levy by 1.5 percent and includes a 2 percent increase in spending. She also dipped into a town contingency fund to set aside $91,000 to provide emergency operating funds for the Williamsville library, preventing a planned closing set for next year. The $113 million spending plan continues to rely on Amherst's hot real estate market, where rapid increases in home reassessments added millions of dollars to the tax base -- allowing the town to meet its expenses and still cut the average tax rate by about 2 percent. Calling the Williamsville library the heart of the community, Grelick said, "I believe strongly that the county should live up to its obligations toward our library system, however . . . we cannot afford to lose this local asset." Under the proposed budget, overall spending will increase by about $2 million to about $113 million. That figure includes about $5 million in grants, reimbursements and funds that are passed through to volunteer fire companies and other groups, according to Amherst Comptroller Maureen P. Cilano. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Libraries NY
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09/27/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: On Sunday, Oct. 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., thousands of New Yorkers are expected to converge on Bryant Park for The Great Read in the Park, a momentous book and author event and a spectacular kickoff in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the New York Times best-seller list. Net proceeds from the Great Read will benefit the Brooklyn Public Library, the New York Public Library, Queens Library and the Fund for Public Schools, the nonprofit organization affiliated with the New York City Department of Education that supports New York public schools. (from Business Wire)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Putnam County
P
09/24/2005
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Positive Impact: Putnam County legislators have recommended restoring funds to libraries, the arts council, the Humane Society, and other agencies that were cut by 30 percent in County Executive Robert Bondi's proposed $124 million budget for 2006. The restoration of about $300,000 to a variety of outside agencies would require no increase in Bondi's tentative 10 percent property tax hike, according to legislators who met Wednesday as the board's Budget and Finance Committee to work on the spending plan. The increase in the property tax rate would be the first one in a decade, Bondi said. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
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09/23/2005
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Positive Impact: A New York State judge ruled September 12 that Niagara Falls must pay the full $2.1 million listed as an allocation to the two city libraries in its 2005 budget. In his decision on the lawsuit filed June 30 by Niagara Falls Public Library trustees, State Supreme Court Justice Vincent Doyle rejected Mayor Vince Anello’s argument that the city council had only agreed to fund half of that amount and has since met and exceeded the obligation, according to the September 13 Niagara Falls Reporter. “It cannot be controverted that the budget repeatedly lists [the library’s] 2005 appropriation as $2,063,292,” Doyle wrote. By arguing that the figure represents the requested amount and not the approved allocation, Anello “asks this court to read ‘Greek’ when it sees plain ‘English,’” he added. The court ordered the city to pay $499,000 to the library board to fulfill its obligation and keep the two libraries open for the rest of the year. The city had already agreed to pay the library an additional $80,000 per month out of its reserve fund to operate the facilities through the summer. The library’s attorney, Ned Perlman, said in the September 15 Buffalo Business First that the additional amount would allow NFPL to reopen its local history department, which had closed because of the uncertain funding. (from American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Orchard Park Library Buffalo
P
09/23/2005
Negative Impact: While the library may be able to maintain hours, she said, things are changing. The library has had to lay off a librarian and a clerk. While the Friends of the Orchard Park Library always has held fund-raisers, the money had been used for capital improvements or to buy more books. Now the library is raising money for operating costs: salaries, utilities and maintenance. "Never did we think we'd be doing these things to keep our doors open," Laubacker said. "What will suffer is program planning, links with the community, working on grants, . . . things that have made this library pretty special in the Southtowns." (from Buffalo News)  

Positive Impact: The Orchard Park Library will retain Sunday hours the old-fashioned way: through philanthropy. The library's first Sunday sponsor, which donated about $3,900 to keep the library open from 1 to 5 p.m. for the rest of this year, was described as a private Orchard Park foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. Now the library is seeking sponsors to provide about $300 a week to maintain Sunday hours next year. Orchard Park is the only library in the Southtowns to open on Sundays. When the Erie County library system started feeling the county's financial crunch at the beginning of the year, it reduced hours, with only the Central Library in downtown Buffalo, the Audubon Library in Amherst and Orchard Park open on Sundays. Ann Laubacker, library director, said the library records some of its heaviest use on Sundays, when its labor contract calls for paying employees at a rate of time-and-a-half.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Solvay Public Library Syracuse
P
09/22/2005
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Positive Impact: The Solvay Public Library expects to boost its budget by 20 percent and will ask the town and village for commensurate increases in their contributions. Inga Barnello, vice president of the library's board of trustees, told the Geddes Town Board Sept. 13 that the board expects to approve a $305,300 budget for the coming year. She said she would like the town's contribution to rise from $48,000 to $55,000, which she said would be in line with the percentage increase from the village. In return, she said the library was expanding programs and staff to handle the rapidly increasing use of its facilities. Councilor Helen Bruzdzinski, who is the town board's liaison to the library, pointed out that the library building will undergo $1.6 million in repairs unrelated to the budget increase in the spring. (from The Post-Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Depew Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
09/22/2005
Negative Impact: The Depew Library will close its doors Dec. 16. It is the latest branch to set a closing date, after the Buffalo & Erie County Library Board decided to cut the county system from 52 libraries to 36. The branch, at 321 Columbia Ave., was among the 16 county libraries targeted and will no longer receive Erie County funding. Without the funding, it simply could not survive. While the board funds the system through a county library tax, individual library boards, such as Lancaster's, make the final decision to close a branch based on inadequate funding. The Lancaster Library Board voted this week to shut down the Depew branch by the end of the year, after efforts to save it were unsuccessful, Martin said. The Lancaster Library, at 5466 Broadway, will remain open. In fact, Lancaster Library trustees also considered keeping the Depew branch open by splitting the county money that Lancaster still will receive to operate the Broadway branch. But service and hours of operation at both branches would have incurred severe cutbacks, Martin said. With the Depew branch closing, some of its collection, shelving and equipment will be transferred to the Lancaster branch. "We figured it's in the best interest of the community to concentrate our efforts at Lancaster and provide a full-service library," Martin said. Still, the transition from two town libraries to one is going to be challenging, Martin said. "We held a lot of programs at Depew because it had a good parking situation," he said. "Lancaster is a bigger building but has insufficient parking. It's a problem the town is going to have to face." In addition, two full-time library positions are being cut, while hours for part-time staff are being chopped by more than half. "We've got our work cut out for us trying to raise some outside funds," Martin said. "With staff cutbacks, we don't have all the people we need to run children's programs." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Elma Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
09/15/2005
Negative Impact: Elma Library Board member Jay W. Ricketts appealed to the Elma Town Board during its Wednesday work session to help the library stay open seven more hours a week instead of the projected 28 hours outlined in the proposed Buffalo & Erie County Public Library budget for 2006. Ricketts said a minimum of 35 hours is mandated to maintain the library's charter status in New York. He said the trustees have no idea whether the county library system will appeal to the state for a waiver on the hours. Before the county budget crisis, the Elma Library was going to request funds for new carpeting, painting and a new water supply for a total of $50,500, Ricketts said, but now it will forgo asking the town to pay for these repairs. Instead, Ricketts said, the library trustees would like the town to consider a budget line of $57,608 for 2006, which could enable the library to retain one full-time position and restore part-time hours at the same pay levels of 2005 with only the mandated contractual cost-of-living increases for the balance of the staff. The allocation that will be given to the Elma Library for 2006 is estimated to be $159,737 and makes no provision for any full-time staff. For the library to stay open 35 hours, the Town of Elma would need to come up with the $57,608. If no funds are restored by the county or the town, the library would need to close two days a week, remaining open just 31/2 days with shorter hours. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
LaSalle Library Niagara Falls
P
09/15/2005
Negative Impact: Amid the backdrop of a court ruling calling for full city funding for libraries, city and library officials locked horns during a public meeting Wednesday designed to come up with solutions. The "Save the LaSalle Library" meeting held in the branch library on Buffalo Avenue was hosted by County Legislator Sean J. O'Connor, D-Niagara Falls, and the LaSalle Business Association, and attended by more than 20 residents. While it was meant to be a brainstorming session on how to ensure the city's only branch library stays open, it ended with most residents walking out during a shouting match between Library Board Vice President Ken Hamilton and City Comptroller Maria Brown. The city underfunded its two libraries this year by $1 million, but recently offered about $400,000 more for the rest of the year. State Supreme Court Justice Vincent E. Doyle on Monday ordered the city to pay the entire $2 million appropriated in the city's 2005 adopted budget. The Library Board had discussed closing the LaSalle Branch before Doyle's decision but said it could remain open if fully funded. Mayor Vince Anello has said he doesn't have enough money to fully fund the libraries, despite Doyle's decision. A group of residents and business owners in LaSalle say they have collected more than 800 signatures on a petition in support of keeping the building open and fully funded. The petition also asks Anello to form a task force to make recommendations on using the building as a multipurpose center, new funding, consideration of heritage designation for the 1924 library building and making the building accessible to the disabled. Anello said he is seeking volunteers for the task force, which could hold its first meeting in October. Other ideas pitched at the meeting include opening a coffee house in the library, leasing space to tenants at the main library and using more volunteers. Association Vice President Anne Sawicki challenged members of the audience to come up with their own ideas. "People say they want change," she said. "But when it comes right down to it, they stick with what they know." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
P
09/15/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: The impoverished British surveyor who created the world's first geologic map in 1815 went to debtor's prison and might have been forgotten today if it weren 't for Simon Winchester. Author of the best -seller "The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology," Winchester enthralled 170 people Wednesday evening during a fund-raising dinner in the lobby of Buffalo & Erie County Central Library on Lafayette Square. Winchester -- who has homes in Manhattan, the Berkshires and Scotland -- waived his usual $20,000 fee for the Library Foundation of Buffalo & Erie County. His appearance launches a series of exhibitions that will showcase the library's Rare Book Collection. Most notable of those treasures is one of the 6-by-9-foot maps hand-drawn and colored by Smith, whose work was a catalyst for the emergence of modern geologic study. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
09/12/2005
Negative Impact: Recent budget cuts at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library: certain subject departments of the central library will be closed one day during the week. As of October 1, the library will institute new fees for holds: $1 for DVD or VHS tapes, and 25 cents for print and audio materials; juvenile items are excluded. The library hopes to gain $100,000 from these measures. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Pittsford community Library Pittsford
P
09/12/2005
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Positive Impact: The new Pittsford Community Library, NY, will be unveiled September 17. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Hyde Park Free Library Hyde Park
P
09/09/2005
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Positive Impact: For some Hyde Park and Staatsburg residents, the public library is the best deal around. "I enjoy the library ... I think they're doing the community a wonderful service," said Judy Chandler, praising the Hyde Park Free Library's staff and programs. Her husband agreed Thursday evening before the couple went to vote on the library district's $357,625 budget in 2006, which includes an increase of about $5 to $10 in yearly library taxes per homeowner. "I think it's a reasonable price to pay for it," Burke Chandler said. Most Hyde Park library district voters agreed with the Chandlers, authorizing a $27,067 budget increase for the Hyde Park Free Library. The hamlet of Staatsburg, which has its own library district, saw the same results. Voters approved a $4,000 increase that brings next year's library budget to $80,600. "This is a real gem for Staatsburg," voter Robert Burns said. "I wish we could afford to keep it open every day." The library tax rate in Staatsburg is 49 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The tax rate increase is 2 cents per $1,000. For the owner of a $200,000 home in Staatsburg, that means a $4 increase from this year's $98 library tax bill. The budget increases for both library districts were sparked in part by the rising cost of heating oil. In Hyde Park, library Director Greg Callahan said the growing cost of materials and the strong demand for DVDs drove part of the budget increase. In addition, more part-time staff are needed so the library can stay open seven days a week year-round. "In the present climate it's hard to know what anything will cost a year from now," Callahan said. "We just hope that things don't skyrocket too bad." The need for more staff was also behind the Staatsburg library's budget increase. The additional funding will pay in part for extra hours for a library clerk to process the approximately 4,000 books and other items being ex-changed through the Mid-Hudson Library System. Staatsburg patrons, like those at all 60-plus libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System, can special-order books, DVDs and books on CDs from any library in the system. (from the Poughkeepsie Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Duanesburg
P
09/07/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: County legislator Judith Dagostino is asking that the county put up $1 million for a new library building in Duanesburg next year so the facility can become part of a new community center already in the works along Route 395. The proposal pushes forward by a year a plan to rebuild the library, originally slated for 2007. The present building is about 2,000 square feet, with about 21,000 books. The town library was built in 1984, said Andy Kulmatiski, director of the Schenectady County Public Library. "It was built too small," he said. The land also has drainage problems so bad that the parking lot is being replaced and the foundation slab sinks in the winter. The library also needs to make room for new technology. "Now that we need computers, we need additional space," the director said. A larger rural library is especially important, Kulmatiski said, because while the area is not heavily populated, it is far from other resources. The drive to the main library in Schenectady takes 30 minutes. He had not heard of Dagostino's proposal but sounded excited and said the library board would look forward to hearing more. Dagostino said the $1 million plan would be included in her request for the upcoming budget year. The county budget should pass by Nov. 1, she said. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Great Kills Branch Staten Island
P
09/05/2005
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Positive Impact: The Great Kills Branch in Staten Island, part of the New York Public Library, reopened August 30 after a $1.5 million renovation. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
SUNY-Albany Albany
a
09/05/2005
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Positive Impact: The State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany has officially announced the establishment of a new College of Computing and Information. The college will concentrate on “focused programs in computer science and library and information sciences.” (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
09/02/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: All 30 full- and part-time Field Library employees would receive pay raises if Peekskill voters approve a ballot proposal increasing the library's 2006 budget City voters will decide in the fall whether to increase funding for the Field Library next year. The library is seeking a $25,000 increase over its current budget of $515,000. Of that, $20,000 would cover pay increases for its seven full-time employees and increased contributions to the state retirement system. Those contributions have soared from $8,000 in 2002 to $40,000 this year. The remaining $5,000 would pay for a part-time security guard during the week. The city formerly funded the guard's salary. If voters reject the increased funding on the Nov. 8 ballot, the library would be funded at its current level, City Comptroller Marcus Serrano said. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County
P
09/02/2005
Negative Impact: The board of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system has adopted a $21.7 million budget for 2006, and approved closing 16 libraries throughout the system. That will leave 36 branches open, though library officials noted those three dozen locations will operate under reductions in hours, staffing and services. "Every library that survives this unfortunate process must do much more with far less next year," said Michael Mahaney, executive director of B&ECPL, which took a $7 million budget cut from financially ailing Erie County. The library branches scheduled for closing include: North Cheektowaga and South Cheektowaga; Greenhaven, Brighton, and Sheridan in Tonawanda; Williamsville; Blasdell; West Falls; Depew: Fronczak, Cazenovia, Fairfield, Kensignton, Martin Luther King, Mead and Northwest in Buffalo. The closings will begin as soon as Oct. 1 and continue through the rest of 2005. The impacted libraries are: North Cheektowaga and South Cheektowaga; Greenhaven, Brighton, and Sheridan in Tonawanda; Williamsville; Blasdell; West Falls; Depew: Fronczak, Cazenovia, Fairfield, Kensignton, Martin Luther King, Mead and Northwest in Buffalo. (from Buffalo Business First)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
09/02/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: City voters will decide in the fall whether to increase funding for the Field Library next year. The library is seeking a $25,000 increase over its current budget of $515,000. Of that, $20,000 would cover pay increases for its seven full-time employees and increased contributions to the state retirement system. Those contributions have soared from $8,000 in 2002 to $40,000 this year. The remaining $5,000 would pay for a part-time security guard during the week. The city formerly funded the guard's salary. "I think it puts it out to the people who matter the most," Library Director Sybil Canaan said of the proposal. "It really lets the people who use us - who value the library and the tradition of libraries - it lets them decide if they would like to invest in their community library. It's a more equitable situation." If voters reject the increased funding on the Nov. 8 ballot, the library would be funded at its current level, City Comptroller Marcus Serrano said. The library collected 592 petition signatures this summer to place the request for more money before the voters. Last year, the library was also successful in petitioning for a public vote on its funding request. Voters approved the additional money by more than 2-to-1 last year. Historically funded directly by the city, the library prior to last year's vote had not seen its budget rise since 2002. State law permits private association libraries like the Field to put their budgets up for vote. The Field Library serves Peekskill's 22,000 residents as well as the 38,000 residents of Cortlandt, which paid $252,000 last year for library services. The Hendrick Hudson Free Library in Montrose puts its budget up for vote during school elections in May. Maria Zalamea, 37, and her daughter Danielle, 6, have come to the library five days a week this summer for enrichment programs and other activities. She intends to vote for the budget increase and thinks others should too. "I don't think they should have to think twice when it comes to libraries," Zalamea said. "A lot of people think when it comes to libraries, it's only books, books, books, but they have so much more." (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Cheektowaga Library Cheektowaga
P
09/02/2005
Negative Impact: Cheektowaga is losing two libraries, but town officials are hoping to institute Sunday hours at the town's two remaining libraries. "The town has suggested it might be willing to fund Sunday hours for us as a goodwill gesture to residents," said Cheektowaga Library Director Elaine Mahaney. The Cheektowaga Library Board decided to close the north and south branches this year, after county funding for the last quarter of this year was reduced. The two libraries were on the county's list to close next year because the Buffalo & Erie County Library does not have enough money to fund all 52 branches. The South Cheektowaga branch, 2660 William St., will be permanently shut down Oct 1. Today is the last day to borrow items. The North Cheektowaga branch, 735 Maryvale Drive, will close Nov. 1. Mahaney said that there will be some layoffs and that the rest of the staff will be redeployed. Mahaney said she hopes that Julia Boyer Reinstein Library, 1030 Losson Road, will be able to open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays starting Sept. 25, with Reinstein Memorial Library, 2580 Harlem Road, to follow. "We'll look to do Harlem Road on Sunday next year," Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak said. "That would just be wonderful. We're not going to get that funding from the Buffalo & Erie County Library," Mahaney said. She said the town system's funding was cut an additional $60,000 for the last part of the year, in addition to $250,000 that was cut in January. Town officials are examining the north and south branch buildings to see if they can be utilized for other town activities, Gabryszak said. He said the north branch is not handicapped-accessible, but the south branch might be turned into a community center. When the libraries close, the two remaining Cheektowaga libraries will get the first opportunity to look over the collections and add to Reinstein Memorial and Julia Boyer Reinstein libraries, Mahaney said. Then directors of other libraries will be given a chance to choose items from the collection. After that, public book sales will be conducted, Mahaney said. (from Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Kings Highway Branch Brooklyn
P
08/29/2005
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Positive Impact: Brooklyn Public Library’s Kings Highway Branch closed August 12 to undergo a $7.1 million renovation; it is expected to be completed in two years.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn
P
08/29/2005
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Positive Impact: For the first time since 2002, Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library, plus 14 neighborhood branches, will add Monday hours of public service. The new hours are made possible by restoration of support from the City of New York. The additional schedule will be welcome, as library circulation has hit an all-time high. Library users borrowed 14 million items in FY05 – an increase of 3.6 million from a total circulation of 10.4 million in FY04. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
08/27/2005
Negative Impact: A State Supreme Court judge said Friday he thinks the city is trying to get out of its obligation to fund its libraries. Justice Vincent E. Doyle told Corporation Counsel Ronald D. Anton that he doesn't believe the city had the right to allocate nearly $1 million less than it had appropriated for the library fund this year. He made the statements Friday during arguments in the Niagara Falls Public Library board of trustees' lawsuit against the City of Niagara Falls. The board is seeking the full $2.1 million included in this year's city budget for the library. The city contends that simply was the amount that Betty Babanoury, library director, had requested and it cannot afford to provide the entire sum. At the beginning of this year, Mayor Vince Anello and the City Council reduced the library allocation to slightly more than $1 million to balance the rest of the budget. Anton said library board members are "tunnel visioned on the needs of the library" when all city departments have had to make cuts. City leaders had hoped the rest of the funds could be provided by converting the city library into a school district library funded through a separate tax. But voters turned that down in June. Faced with prospects of closing the library, the City Council recently allocated another $400,000 and told leaders to cut library hours for the rest of the year. In a sworn affidavit, Councilwoman Candra Thomason, the Council's only Republican, said Mayor Vince Anello had told Council members he would fully fund the library if voters rejected a school district library. The group Friends of the Library has hired attorney Edward Perlman to represent the library board in suing the city for the full amount, in hopes that will allow the main library to stay open the required amount of hours to remain the central library for the Niagara-Orleans-Genesee county system. The main question Doyle faced Friday was the meaning of the word "allocation." Anton said City Controller Maria Brown decided to list the library's $2,063,292 request as an allocation, but that the true funding amount is listed as "transfer to library" at $1,048,292. But Perlman pointed out that a monthly performance report issued by Brown as recently as July 28, still cites the allocation for the library at nearly $2 million. Anton said Brown has provided a sworn affidavit saying she kept the higher figure in reports to be consistent with the earlier mistake library's request as the city's allocation. Doyle said he believes allocations and appropriations are the same thing. "You are asking for the court to take words that have common meanings and say they don't mean that," he said. "I'm using common sense, common terms, common language." The city, he said, sounded as if it were trying to get out of an obligation. Doyle is expected to issue a written decision, but could call for a hearing. He also is expected to rule on the city's claim that four library board members illegally appointed Morton Abramowitz to the board to fill a vacancy resulting from the unexpected resignation of another member earlier this year. Board members, who serve five-year, unpaid terms, usually are appointed by the mayor with approval from the Council. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Straatsburg
P
08/26/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: STAATSBURG -- Homeowners will pay a few more dollars a year if voters approve the library's 2006 funding increase. Residents of the Staatsburg Library District can vote from 4-10 p.m. Sept. 8 on whether to increase the taxpayers' share of the library budget by $4,000 to $80,600 next year. "We tried very hard to keep the budget as low as possible," said Marion Asher, treasurer of the Staatsburg Library board of trustees. The current library tax rate is 49 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The proposed tax rate increase is 2 cents per $1,000. For the owner of a $200,000 home in Staatsburg that would be a $4 increase in this year's $98 library tax bill. Like all 60-plus libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System, Staatsburg patrons can special-order books, DVDs and books on CD from any system library. "DVDs are a big hit," Staatsburg library computer aide Martha Sipe said. This inter-library service is one of the reasons Staatsburg is seeking the $4,000 funding increase. Two more hours a week are needed to pay a library clerk to process the approximately 4,000 books and other items being loaned to and from other libraries each week, library board President David Lund said. Heating cost soars A big chunk of the funding increase is linked to the sharp escalation in the price of oil. "We're paying a dollar more per gallon for heating oil this year," Lund said. Also a cost factor: The library director, Anne Jordan, and five part-time staffers are due for a 2 percent pay raise next year. "It's so hard to hire staff," Lund said of the modest wages. And the library plans to stay open an hour longer on Fridays. Most of the library's 2006 budget of $93,200 is funded by the taxpayers. The remaining $12,600 depends on an array of sources. "You do get some help through Dutchess County and the state," Asher said. "We also get grants." "Generous donations" are made each year by the Friends of the Staatsburg Library and Norrie Playground Inc., a nonprofit that funds improvements at Dinsmore Park. "The Hyde Park Teachers Association has also given generously," Asher said. (from the Poughkeepsie Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Alden, Boston, Eden and Marilla branches Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/26/2005
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Positive Impact: Sixteen Erie County libraries are now targeted to close instead of 20. The Alden, Boston, Eden and Marilla libraries are being spared because those towns have agreed to contribute town money to help the county system keep their rural libraries open. The North Park branch on Delaware Avenue also will be saved, but it comes at the expense of the Fronczak branch on Broadway, which is now on the chopping block. These changes to the library closing list were made Thursday during a planning meeting of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board. This plan to cut the county library system from 52 to 36 branches next year will be presented to the entire 15-member Library Board for approval next Thursday. The closing list now includes seven branches in Buffalo: Cazenovia, Fairfield, Fronczak, Kensington, Martin Luther King Jr., Mead and Northwest. Nine libraries are slated to close outside the city: Blasdell; Depew; the North and South Cheektowaga branches; Brighton, Greenhaven and Parkside Village in the Town of Tonawanda; West Falls; and Williamsville. The two Cheektowaga branches, and Brighton and Greenhaven in Tonawanda, already are in the process of shutting down this year. This flurry of last-minute activity came after representatives from Alden, Boston, Eden and Marilla - towns where libraries were scheduled to close - met with county library officials this week and committed to providing town funds to keep their libraries open. "We have to pursue the details," said Library Director Michael C. Mahaney, "but we have funding commitments from those towns." It's likely the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library - which funds the system through a county library tax - will give those four libraries a portion of the funding they had been receiving, leaving the towns to pick up any remaining costs. "The fact that local officials came to us and said, "We value our libraries and we're willing to commit local funding,' is a major factor in why they're being kept open," said Rebecca Pordum, chairwoman of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board. The North Park branch on Delaware Avenue is off the closing list because of the dynamics taking place during this downsizing process, library administrators said. The Town of Tonawanda is considering building a new library at the center of town to eventually replace its five branches, including those near North Buffalo. If that happens, and North Park was closed, that section of Buffalo would be left without adequate service, library officials said. So instead of North Park, library officials chose to sacrifice the Fronczak branch. Also, more than 100 full-time library employees - about one-third of the system's full-time staff - are expected to be laid off to help close an anticipated $6 million budget hole. Some full-time positions will be made part-time, and library hours are expected to be scaled back even more. The pain will be felt throughout the system, said Kenneth H. Stone, chief financial officer for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. "Every library is going to see a reduction in staffing and a reduction in resources," Stone said. "That's the only way we have been able to save more libraries." (from Buffalo News)  

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SUNY at Geneseo Geneseo
a
08/22/2005
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Fundraising Results: A librarian from Queens has left his alma mater, SUNY at Geneseo, his life’s savings, nearly $900,000. (from Library Hotline)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/17/2005
Negative Impact: When library officials began ranking all their branches, they wanted to use a formula that was bulletproof. So for each library, they gathered more than three dozen pieces of information and boiled that data down into 19 weighted criteria that ranked each branch based on its location, condition, accessibility and activity levels. Now some neighborhood library advocates are criticizing the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board for not taking a closer look at something else - cost. They argue that some of the library system's leanest and most efficient operations belong to rural and suburban branches now on the chopping block. And data exists to support their position. Michael Perley, president of the Boston Free Library Association, pointed out that when you divide the Boston library's operating budget by the number of items it circulates, the number of people it serves, the amount of space it has, or the number of programs it offers, his branch consistently ranks above average. "I'm talking bang for the buck here," he said. Yet his library is one of 20 targeted for closure. The Buffalo News did its own calculation by dividing each branch's operating budget by its annual number of patron visits. This measure accounts for those who may use a library for its community programs, computers or reference section yet not check out any materials. According to that analysis, 10 of the 20 libraries now scheduled for closure cost relatively little to operate per person. Parkside Village, Blasdell, West Falls, Kensington, Eden, Depew, Boston, Alden, North Cheektowaga and Marilla all cost less than $3 per visit. The average cost per visit for all county libraries is $3.65. Meanwhile, Buffalo's East Clinton branch would remain open despite having the highest cost per visit of any library except Central at $9.88. Trying to calculate library branch efficiency is difficult because any way you slice the numbers, someone's likely to find a problem with your method. "To base the decision on any one criteria is not going to be fair to some libraries," said Kenneth Stone, the library system's chief financial officer. Library administrators cited several problems with The News' calculations: The operating budget figure for some smaller libraries may be artificially low because it does not include all staff salaries or indirect service costs. For instance, the West Falls library is supervised by a library director based in the East Aurora branch, which assumes the entire cost for that position. The budgets for city branches tend to be higher than suburban or rural branches because city branches have higher security-related costs. The "optical eye" used to count patron visits at each branch is not a perfect counter system because of the varied entranceway setups from branch to branch. Many smaller branches, for instance, don't have separate staff entrances, so staffers are counted as patrons. While officials say no one measure is perfect, library advocates like Perley contend it is wrong to ignore such data. "You can tell we've been doing everything we've been asked to do," he said, "and we've been doing it well." Stone said that information will not be ignored. Revamping the county library system is a two-step process, he said. The first part, now complete, ranked all the branches based on their ability to provide the best service. The second part, now under way, will use cost-related data to determine how to trim the budgets of the libraries remaining open. Even if 20 libraries close next year, Stone said, the library system will need to squeeze $2.5 million in savings from its remaining branches. Using the expensive East Clinton branch as an example, he noted this branch was slated to close but later saved to make up for closing two nearby branches - Mead and South Cheektowaga. Next year, Stone said, library officials are likely to trim East Clinton's overall operating budget from $189,900 to $125,000. Assuming that a third of the patrons from nearby closed branches visit East Clinton next year, he said, the cost per visit would drop from $9.88 to $2.85. Ruth Collins, the system's chief operations officer, also said the administration is seeking waivers from the state to staff libraries below minimum state-mandated requirements. This could spare some Southtowns libraries slated for closure and cut costs of others that remain open. While library administrators have tried to take a logical approach to cutting back libraries, Collins added, it's impossible to account for the emotional and community attachments that every library branch breeds. "The data that we're looking at," she said, "the ranking that we did, was truly an attempt to apply an objective process to something that is anything but an objective situation." (from Buffalo News)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/17/2005
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Positive Impact: The latest chapter over closing libraries in Erie County will unfold next week. In the meantime, two communties are doing everything they can to see that their facilities stay open for business. The Planning Committee for the library's Board of Trustees will meet on August 25. At that time it's expected they will make final recommendations on the status of each of the 52 branches across the county. Then, on September 1, the full board will meet to finalize the library's 2006 budget, including the list of libraries to remain open. On Wednesday, two communities will hold events to let the Board know they are not prepared to see their libraries go down without a fight. In Williamsville, a grassroots organization, "Save the Williamsville Library" will hold a meeting at 7:30 P.M. at the library located at 5571 Main Street. A community rally and concert to save the Boston Free Library kicks off at 7 P.M. at the library located on Route 391. Balloons, refreshments, and bluegrass music are all part of the planned festivities. The board could decide to close the books for good on as many as 20 libraries due to a drastic shortfall in funding in their 2006 budget. (from WGRZ: News 2)  

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Williamsville Library Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/16/2005
Negative Impact: Amherst and Williamsville officials on Tuesday appealed to the Buffalo & Erie County Library Board to keep the Williamsville Library open. The 3,934-square-foot branch, at 5571 Main St., is among the 20 branches county library officials tentatively have targeted for closing next year to help make up for a $6 million projected budget gap. "The Williamsville library is at the heart of the village, in a hub of activity," said Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick. "I urge the Buffalo & Erie County Library Board to reconsider." "More than 5,600 village residents and numerous town residents count on the library, many of whom walk to it," said Williamsville Mayor Mary A. Lowther. (from the Buffalo News)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/15/2005
Negative Impact: Communities faced with losing their libraries next year aren't giving them up without a fight. But if they are cut off from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system, some are determined to keep their beloved branches open without county funding. "Eden intends to have a library," said Supervisor Glenn R. Nellis. "We'd prefer to be part of the system, but if not, we're prepared to find another way." As many as 20 libraries are expected to close throughout Erie County next year, and the targeted communities are lobbying to save their own. Williamsville, which could lose its Main Street branch, is particularly riled up. So are the rural areas of Eden, Alden, Boston and Marilla, where residents have been among the most vocal since their libraries were included on a tentative closing list. "We don't have a Borders bookstore, or malls, or movie theaters," said Susan C. Minekime, Eden's library director. "In the small towns, libraries are the center of the community." Plan A for these communities has been to put pressure on library decision-makers - speak out at meetings, sign petitions and generally fight like crazy in hopes of swaying sentiment in their favor. But with a final decision on library closings expected soon, communities are considering a Plan B. And that may mean putting up some town tax dollars. Cheektowaga, which could lose two of its four libraries, may try to bolster hours at its branches that do stay open. The Town of Tonawanda, which could lose three of five, wants to replace its smaller branches with a larger, more modern library. Alden and Marilla are considering raising town taxes to operate their libraries independently of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system. Supervisors of both towns want to put the issue up for a vote on the November ballot. County library officials will try to help those communities interested in going it alone, said Ruth A. Collins, the system's deputy director. Books and computers might be turned over to the branches. The county system also may be able to provide services to the new independents - for a fee. But administrators caution the towns that running a viable library may cost more than they expect. Some expenses don't show up in branch budgets, but instead are covered directly by Central Library administration for the entire system, explained Kenneth H. Stone, chief financial officer for the county system. That includes fees for new library materials, utilities, electronic catalogs and Internet service, Stone said. The Buffalo & Erie County Library system funds its 52 branches through a county library tax, while municipalities own and maintain the buildings. The tax shows up as a separate line on county tax bills. Downsizing has been discussed for years by critics who said the system was too big and costly. Erie County's budget crisis brought the situation to a head. Next year, county library officials are counting on the same amount of tax dollars, but do not expect to receive the additional $5 million the county would normally borrow to buy new materials. Administrators also have to account for rising personnel costs and termination payouts. To make ends meet, the county Library Board is expected to decide by the end of the month which branches won't get funded. Communities think they deserve better for the money they're paying. The county library tax, for example, generated $235,000 from Alden residents this year, but the Alden (Ewell) Free Library received $95,000 as its budget. "No one has a problem with that, but we will have a problem paying $235,000 and not having a library," Savage said. "We pay 11/2 times more than we receive." "In many cases that may be true," Stone said. "But they've got to remember it's supporting a lot of expenses for their libraries they don't see." Clarence, Orchard Park and Elma - wealthier communities with higher property values - paid the most per resident, ranging from $41 to $50 per person, a calculation of 2005 library taxes show. Among the communities targeted to lose branches, Aurora, Boston, Amherst and Marilla paid the most library taxes per resident. Aurora paid $39.77 per person; Boston, $31.76; Amherst, $31.49; and Marilla, $30.42. That's the problem with raising town taxes to fund a library, Savage and Foss pointed out. Residents still would have to pay the county library tax. "We'd be paying twice," Foss said. Criteria draw criticism Officials, like Nellis and Lowther, also have been critical of the process used in making the closing decisions, which were based on a weighted system of 19 criteria, including building size, library activity and proximity to other branches. Critics of the process became even more skeptical when a few branches were taken off the tentative closing list to plug gaps in service around the county. But despite the uproar in some communities, the reaction in others - like Cheektowaga, Tonawanda and Buffalo - has been relatively quiet, so far. County Legislature Majority Leader Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda, sensed the public mood has changed from several years ago, when there was a huge backlash that resulted in the library system scrapping a downsizing plan. "I think there's a resigned understanding that with the fiscal situation, we can't sustain 52 libraries," Marinelli said. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Town of Tonawanda Public Library Kenmore
P
08/15/2005
Negative Impact: Meanwhile, TTPL faces many service challenges. Absorbing an 11 percent budget cut last year, the previous director laid off all part-time staff. Its five locations are small and aging.l The most recent and largest branch was built in 1977 at 15,500 square feet, and yet another branch had structural issues that would cost an estimated $1.5 million to repair. Even so, Batt says that the community, which as a high percentage of senior citizens, might not go for a single facility. Several years ago, a study recommending the closure of several branches of the countrywide system caused much protest, recalled Batt. But given today’s fiscal realities, even library officials realize that 52 locations may be too many to support, she says. For now, to cope with budget pressure, the B&ECPL board has agreed to cut funding to all county libraries by 20 percent for the last three months of the year, thus instituting shorter hours and possibly some closures. The 20 percent reduction in the operations budget will provide nearly $1 million for new materials, as the county has not put forth the $5 million promised for materials in 2005. (Library Hotline)  

Positive Impact: The Town of Tonawanda Public Library (TTPL), Kenmore, NY, stands to close three out of five branches, including one operating with severely reduced staff and hours, under a Buffalo & Erie County Public Library (B & ECPL) proposal to close at least 20 libraries. Acknowledging the magnitude of the closures in a town with more than 78,000 residents, county executive Joel Giambra is offering $2.5 million toward a new, single facility to replace all five older facilities. TTPL interim director Carol Batt said the proposal was a welcome surprise to library officials, noting that the more proactive the library is, the greater the likelihood that the money will actually come through. Officials are already scouting a location for the new facility. Batt says the $2.5 million could appear in the preliminary 2006 budget. It is unclear, however, if it will come from the county’s share of tobacco settlement money or from bonded funds for capital projects. If the latter, says Batt, there’s no guarantee the money will come through at all. If approved, the new facility is expected to cost about $5 million.  

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Bedford Library Brooklyn
P
08/15/2005
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Positive Impact: The 1905 Bedford Library, one of Brooklyn Public Library’s Carnegie buildings, will officially reopen this fall following a $2.9 million renovation. (from Library Hotline)  

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Greenhaven, Brighton Tonawanda
P
08/12/2005
Negative Impact: The Town of Tonawanda isn't waiting for a final decision on which county libraries will be closed next year. It's permanently shutting the Greenhaven branch on Oct. 1, and the Brighton branch on Nov. 1. Greenhaven and Brighton were among the 20 libraries targeted by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System to close next year to reduce a projected $6 million budget hole. But Greenhaven and Brighton were in more immediate trouble when the county Library Board decided last week that for the last quarter of this year it was cutting funding to all its branches by 20 percent. The Town of Tonawanda Library Board on Tuesday agreed to close the two branches sooner, and not wait until next year. "The money is simply not available to support the libraries as they currently exist," said Carol Batt, Tonawanda's interim library director. While the county Library Board funds its 52 branches through a county library tax, Tonawanda's Library Board ultimately decides whether to close any of its five branches based upon inadequate county funding. It's unclear whether the Town Board would have to approve the decision. "It's very difficult because we understand the attitude of people about their libraries," said John B. Long, president of the Town of Tonawanda Library Board. "At the same time, the money is no longer there to support five libraries in the town," Long said. "We need to think about re-engineering the library system, not just in the Town of Tonawanda, but around the whole county." Tonawanda officials are considering replacing smaller branches by building a larger, more modern library with the help of $2.5 million pledged by County Executive Joel A. Giambra. It's uncertain what would happen to the roughly 20 staff members at the two branches, some of whom may decide to retire, he said. (From The Buffalo News)  

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Hamburg
P
08/09/2005
Negative Impact: Town of Hamburg residents pay about $1 million more in library taxes than they receive back for operation of their three libraries and now face the loss of at least one of them. "That's a slap in the face to town residents," Councilwoman Joan A. Kesner said Monday night when the Town Board met with the Hamburg Public Library Board to discuss the situation. Although the Lake Shore Library has been removed from the tentative closure list, the Blasdell facility is scheduled to close, and there have been discussions about reducing Lake Shore's hours. The town library budget was cut this year by 26 percent, to $539,049, according to figures presented by library board member Martha Salzman. Meanwhile, town residents pay a total of $1,586,604 in county library taxes. Some of that goes to support the Central Library and other expenses, but officials said it appears that the town pays far more in taxes than it receives back. Town Supervisor Patrick H. Hoak said later that "we pay more than our fair share" and that he and Salzman will request a meeting with county library officials to present their case for being spared further cuts. During its meeting, the Town Board approved helping the Newton-Abbott Fire Company with funding for construction of a new fire hall by borrowing, on the fire company's behalf, $1.8 million of the $2.3 million cost. The current hall is 50 years old and needs to be replaced, said Paul E. Rudnicki, attorney for the fire company. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Tonawanda
P
08/07/2005
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Positive Impact: County Executive Joel A. Giambra has promised $2.5 million to help build a hub library in the Town of Tonawanda, elating local officials. Town leaders have sights on the former Quality Markets building on Sheridan Drive, between Delaware Road and Delaware Avenue, because it is centrally located and on two major bus routes. "It's large enough for us to do some very innovative things with that building," said John B. Long, president of the Town of Tonawanda Library Board, who said he looking at the Audubon branch in Amherst as a model. "And you couldn't get more centralized than that. I've had my eye on that for so long." He plans to meet early next week with representatives from Benchmark, which owns the building. The current plans for a new library in Tonawanda have their roots in two things: a 1998 master plan for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library and an incentive Giambra offered local communities three years ago to consolidate branches. The 1998 plan pared the number of branches in Erie County to 39 from the current 52. The cornerstone of the plan was the creation of eight hub libraries, similar to the Audubon branch. The plan, which had three Tonawanda branches marked to close, was met with fierce resistance from residents, who rallied in support of keeping their neighborhood libraries. A few years later, Giambra offered $2.5 million for a new library to any community willing to consolidate at least two branches. He got no takers. "There really was no stomach for talking about consolidating the libraries at that time. The hue and cry, the sound was deafening. Nobody wanted to talk about it," said Tonawanda Councilman Joseph M. Shiah. Now, in the thick of the county's fiscal crisis, with the Brighton, Greenhaven and Parkside Village branches in the Town of Tonawanda slated to close, it's a different story for Giambra's incentive plan. "This is an idea whose time has come," Shiah said. "Lack of money has a way of doing that." Town leaders asked Giambra whether his offer still stood. On Friday, they got a letter from him promising that $2.5 million would be available after they choose a site and sign a memorandum of understanding. Giambra said Friday that the money would either come from the remaining tobacco settlement money or the sale of general obligation bonds. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Tonawanda
P
08/06/2005
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Positive Impact: Town of Tonawanda officials have mourned the possible loss of four of the Town’s five libraries over the past few weeks. They’re set to turn the page now after being promised $2.5 million for a new library Friday. Councilman John Flynn, who chairs the Town Library Committee, wrote to Erie County Executive Joel Giambra in February. Flynn wanted to know if Giambra’s 2003 offer to give funds for a new library if two branches shut down was still on the table. “In exchange for a community’s voluntary decision to close any two branches, I will make available county funds to build a new, state-of-the-art library in your town,” Giambra’s letter said. “Not only will this relieve your local budgets of the construction costs, but it should dramatically reduce maintenance costs over the next several years.” Word came from Giambra on Friday that the offer stood. “I am extremely excited,” Flynn said. With funding expected to decrease, consolidating branches has been one option discussed by Town officials over the past several weeks. The Buffalo and Erie County Library system announced last month that four of the Town’s five branches would be shut down due to financial constraints, with only the Kenmore branch staying open. The library system announced earlier this week that the Kenilworth branch on Montrose Avenue would also remain open, but there was little chance of the Greenhaven, Brighton or Parkside Village branches surviving the closure process. John Long, head of the Town of Tonawanda Library Board, said the time to keep all branches open has passed. “Like everything else, it’s time to take a good, long look at it and start revamping,” he said. Even with $2.5 million coming from the county, more money will be needed. State and federal politicians will be asked for additional funds for a new library in the coming weeks, Flynn said. No firm estimates have been figured, but Flynn has heard a new branch could cost $4 million to $5 million. “This is only halfway there,” he said. “With this right here ... we’re on the way to offering outstanding services.” No site has been established, but locations discussed include the former Quality Markets at Sheridan Drive and Delaware Avenue. Long likes that site because of its location within the Town. “If you were to take a map of the Town of Tonawanda and look for a point that’s centralized, that’s one of the more centralized locations,” he said. Long reached the property’s owners as soon as he learned of Giambra’s offer Friday. He set up a meeting next week to discuss acquiring the land. The next step is to draft a memorandum of understanding between the Town and county, Flynn said. He doesn’t expect to see any money before the end of the year, but hopes to hold public hearings and get most of the planning done by then. put Tonawanda on the cutting edge.” (from Tonawanda News) 

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/05/2005
Negative Impact: Some 150 patrons showed up at the Buffalo and Erie County (N.Y.) Public Library board meeting August 4 to protest its decision to shutter nearly half the system’s branches next year. For nearly two hours, 52 patrons passionately told trustees that they relied on the libraries to use computers and help tutor their children, and that the branches were important for poor neighborhoods and rural areas in the county, the August 5 Buffalo News reported. “I can’t see why you should close it,” said Williamsville branch patron Edward Reich. “You’re talking about a large village, with people going into shops.” Sonya Manning of Eden said she relied on the library when she moved to town several years earlier. “I get so much out of that library,” she told the board. “Erie County doesn’t know what they have.” However, later in the meeting the board approved a four-year plan to submit to County Executive Joel Giambra that includes laying off 100 employees and closing 20 branches—instead of 24 contemplated at the previous week’s meeting—in order to fix a $6 million deficit. Trustees postponed a decision on which branches to close until the end of the month. The plan also proposes to consolidate and rebuild new county libraries in several areas, including the Town of Tonawanda. The board also agreed to reduce funding to all county libraries by 20% during the last quarter of 2005 in order to use $1 million to purchase new materials, money which the county had not provided this year. Library Director Michael C. Mahaney told the News that the cuts might mean shorter hours for the rest of the year or in some cases closings for those branches that can’t take the additional hit. (From American Libraries)  

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Buffalo Public Schools Buffalo
s
08/03/2005
Negative Impact: After 13 years as a Buffalo teacher, the last thing Laurie Twist Binder expected was the layoff notice she received in Saturday's mail. "I feel like I was kicked in the stomach," she said Tuesday. Binder, the librarian at Olmsted School 64, is one of 114 teachers and administrators who stand to lose their jobs as a result of the high-stakes health insurance dispute between the Buffalo Public Schools and the school district's unions. School Superintendent James A. Williams and his staff say all 88 teachers and 26 administrators will be called back to work immediately if the Buffalo Teachers Federation and the other unions agree to consolidate their health insurance policies, which would save the district $10.2 million. The unions say that they are willing to move to a single insurer but that the district has failed to document its promise that coverage would not be reduced. Meanwhile, Binder, who is single and has no other income to fall back on, faces an uncertain future. "I don't know," she said. "I don't know what to do." Short of a settlement, school libraries will be hit hard. At least 29 of the teachers receiving layoff notices are librarians. An additional 14 are attendance teachers, 12 teach music, and five are guidance counselors. While Binder has the most seniority, other laid-off teachers have 12, 11, eight and seven years of service with the district. (from The Buffalo News) 

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Niagara Falls
P
08/01/2005
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Positive Impact: The Niagara Falls (N.Y.) City Council approved a proposal July 25 by Mayor Vince Anello to use some $500,000 in surplus funds from the 2004 budget to keep the city’s two libraries open. However, the library board has threatened to close one of those facilities if it cannot obtain a court order forcing the city to maintain the current level of funding, the Niagara Gazette reported July 28. Anello’s plan would only provide enough funding to keep the libraries open 44 hours weekly rather than the present 55. Library board President Dolores Marino pointed out that if the library isn’t open at least 54 hours per week, it will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and county aid, according to a July 26 WIVB-TV news report. Anello voiced hope that the New York State Library would grant a one-time waiver to reduce its hours for just the remainder of 2005. The board voted July 27 to apply for a restraining order barring the city from reducing funding while their lawsuit over the issue remains in court. If they fail to get the court order, the trustees plan to immediately shut the LaSalle branch in order to keep the Main Library operating at state standards. After the board’s vote, Anello told the Gazette, “I can see that the level of ungratefulness is rising rapidly among the library board. The fact is the council transferred the money we had available. To me, this is going beyond issues of saving the library.” The Gazette said closing the LaSalle branch could violate a 1927 agreement with the Village of LaSalle that promised to maintain the library after the village was incorporated into Niagara Falls. “It’s my understanding that it would take a referendum to do anything different,” Anello said. In June, voters narrowly defeated a referendum that would have raised property taxes to fund the libraries, whose budget was slashed by $1 million last December. (From American Libraries)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
08/01/2005
Negative Impact: It’s been a rough year for the Buffalo & Erie County PL, NY. Already offering reduced services after a ten percent budget cut, the 52-branch system will be forced now to close at least 19 libraries next year in the face of a $5 million budget gap. “An estimated 19 libraries would need to close in 2006 even if the dedicated property tax remains stable at $21.7 million,” the library said in a statement Half of the 52 facilities have been identified as candidates for closure or consolidation. Meanwhile, the library also announced that it never received the $5 million it expected for materials this year. “The continued delay in funding has already forced the library to lay off another eight full-time personnel as the 2004 balances are now exhausted, eliminating their workload,” the library said. A library board committee has recommended a 20 percent reduction in fourth quarter operations for all facilities, in order to fund about $1 million for materials. Public comment has been critical. “The libraries that are open will have more books and the neighborhoods whose libraries are closed will have nothing,” ElizaBeth Berry, president of Save Our Libraries, told the board. “What do you want to bet that the neighborhoods left without will be the ones already underserved?” Board chair Rebecca Pordum said, “We are still very much in the preliminary planning stages. At this time, there is still no definitive list of libraries slated to close.” (from Library Hotline  

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New York
P
08/01/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: New York City’s three public library systems are spending thousands of dollars to hire lobbyists on the local, state, and federal levels in order to increase their odds for public funding. The libraries feel they need more assistance in competing for a “shrinking pool of public resources,” according to a story in the July 25 New York Times. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
P
08/01/2005
Negative Impact: Following the defeat of a public referendum that would have allowed it to survive a million-dollar cut the city made to its budget last year, the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Public Library and its LaSalle branch could close their doors for good unless a solution is soon found. At a special meeting with trustees July 12, Mayor Vince Anello said the city is considering applying a surplus fund of $548,000 left over from the 2004 budget. But an independent auditor warned in June that the amount is insufficient to cover emergency expenses through the rest of the year, the July 13 Niagara Gazette reported. Officials are also contemplating asking the New York State Library for a one-time waiver to the requirement that a library in a municipality the size of Niagara Falls must stay open a minimum of 55 hours per week. But trustees worry that reduced funding and hours would jeopardize ongoing grant money and other state aid. The financially strapped city announced in December 2004 that it could only afford about half of the $2.1 million that library officials needed for 2005 operating costs. Residents then rejected by only 480 votes a June 21 referendum that would have created a new district to fund library operations through property taxes instead of the city coffers. Although city funding ran out at the end of June, NFPL Executive Director Betty Babanoury told American Libraries that the mayor came up with enough to keep the library open through July. She said that NFPL has already eliminated 10 positions since October, and there are no other expenses left to cut. But if nothing is done to fund it for the rest of the year, 37 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs and Niagara Falls will lose its library. (from American Libraries)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
07/29/2005
Negative Impact: In the face of an ongoing budget crisis, the Buffalo and Erie County (N.Y.) Public Library expects to close some 24 of its 52 branches next year, and to cut the budgets of those that remain open. At a July 26 meeting, the planning committee of the library board considered a ranking of all branches based on factors including building condition and accessibility, activity levels, and proximity to other branches. Officials said that the 24 lowest-ranking facilities will be shut, although adjustments may be made based on geographic concerns—for instance, the current scenario would leave no branches in the southwest corner of the county—the Buffalo News reported July 27. The previous week the system had estimated that 19 branches would have to close. Closing the branches would involve the layoff of more than 100 people and the need to sell or store roughly half a million items, as well as computers and other equipment, the News reported July 26. Library Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Stone estimated that the closings would save about $4 million. However, officials foresee a potential $6 million deficit next year that will necessitate severe cuts at surviving branches. The board expects to release a final list of library closures by the end of August. Last year the Erie County legislature narrowly approved a budget that averted the closing of all the system’s branches. (from American Libraries)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
07/22/2005
Negative Impact: A decision on which Erie County libraries would close next year may come by the end of August. Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director Michael C. Mahaney discussed the library system's bleak situation with its board of trustees Thursday and hoped the board would vote at its Aug. 25 meeting on how many and which libraries would be funded next year. Nineteen or more libraries could shut down next year to close a projected $5 million budget gap in 2006. Half of the county's 52 libraries already have been identified as candidates for closure or consolidation. The board agreed to convene again Aug. 4, when it will hear comments from the public about the branches being mentioned for closure. It already heard an earful Thursday. "The libraries that are open will have more books, and the neighborhoods whose libraries are closed will have nothing," said ElizaBeth Berry, a Buffalo resident and president of Save Our Libraries. "What do you want to bet that the neighborhoods left without will be the ones already underserved?" A preliminary closing list includes the East Clinton, Kensington, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mead branches in Buffalo. Suburban branches at risk include: Alden (Ewell) Free; Angola; Blasdell; Boston Free; North Cheektowaga and South Cheektowaga; Depew; Eden; Lake Shore in Hamburg; North Collins; Parkside Village in the Town of Tonawanda; Williamsville; and West Falls. For weeks, library officials have been conducting inventories of each of their branches, measuring each library in terms of geography, facilities, income and education, and activity levels, Mahaney explained. These criteria were then plugged into a weighting system that assigns more value to some criteria than others. A library's geographic isolation, for instance, is the single most heavily weighted factor in determining a library's score. Circulation activity ranks second. Other factors, including facility size, disability access, building condition, poverty levels and community population, tie for third place. Elma and Marilla are considered for consolidation, as are Kenilworth, Brighton and Greenhaven in the Town of Tonawanda; Fairfield and North Park in North Buffalo; and Dudley and Cazenovia branches in South Buffalo. Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra has expressed interest in designating a portion of funds provided by the state under the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority to help re-engineer the library system, Mahaney said. Majority Leader Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda, expressed similar sentiments Thursday. (from Buffalo News)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
07/21/2005
Negative Impact: In light of the Erie County budget crisis, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library officials might have to close between 19 and 24 branches to narrow a projected shortfall in county funding for 2006. The preliminary closing list includes these Buffalo branches: East Clinton on Clinton Street; Kensington on Westminster Avenue; Martin Luther King Jr. on William Street; and Mead on Ludington Street. And these suburban locations: Alden (Ewell) Free, Angola, Blasdell, Boston Free, North Cheektowaga and South Cheektowaga; Depew; Eden; Lake Shore in Hamburg; North Collins; Parkside Village in the Town of Tonawanda; Williamsville; and West Falls. Other libraries are being considered for possible consolidation. They are Elma and Marilla; Kenilworth, Brighton and Greenhaven in the Town of Tonawanda; Fairfield and North Park in Buffalo; and Dudley and Cazenovia branches, also in the city. Library administrators met with the system's planning committee Wednesday afternoon to discuss next year's funding, and possible closures. Library director Michael C. Mahaney confirmed these libraries were included on the preliminary list, based on a set of 19 criteria, including size and physical condition of a building, its location, circulation and proximity to other libraries. Library officials have been considering closing branches to deal with a projected $5 million budget gap next year. If the system receives the same amount of county tax dollars next year as it did this year, it can afford only 33 libraries. The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board is expected to continue the discussion at its meeting today and in the weeks ahead. Library officials need to submit a downsizing plan to Erie County Executive Joel A. Giambra by early August, which has accelerated the closing process. Meanwhile, some libraries may have to close sooner than next year. The planning committee on Wednesday recommended that the county library board tell libraries to reduce spending by 20 percent during the last quarter of 2005, which might force some libraries to close this year. (The Buffalo News)  

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Bronx Borough Center Library and Kingsbridge Regional Branch Library Bronx
P
07/18/2005
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Positive Impact: Nearly a third of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión's 2006 capital budget will go to housing initiatives for seniors, low-income families and aspiring homeowners. The $19 million capital budget will also help pay for school improvements, library construction, community center renovations and cultural projects, but the largest share - $6 million - will be devoted to housing. The capital budget also allocates $1.6 million for library construction and renovations, including $404,000 for the Bronx Borough Center Library and more than $800,000 for the Kingsbridge Regional Branch Library. (from the Daily News)  

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Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
P
07/15/2005
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Positive Impact: Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello said the city is considering applying a surplus fund of $548,000 left over from the 2004 budget to keep its public library open. “The fund balance is the only place I can go for money,” Anello told library trustees at a special July 12 meeting to look at the library’s finances before inadequate city funding would force it to close August 1. But an independent auditor warned in June that the amount is insufficient to cover emergency expenses through the rest of the year, the July 13 Niagara Gazette reported. “We really need direction,” Trustee President Dolores Marino told city leaders. “What is it you want us to do? We are in dire straits.” The city funded the Niagara Falls Public Library at only $1 million this year, half its usual allocation, and in June residents rejected a referendum that would have financed it through a separate property tax. Officials are also contemplating asking the New York State Library for a one-time waiver to the requirement that a library in a municipality the size of Niagara Falls must stay open a minimum of 55 hours per week. But trustees worry that reduced funding and hours would jeopardize ongoing grant money and other state aid. One contingency plan proposed by Council Chairman Charles Walker is to use $1.4 million of the income from the Seneca Niagara Casino for the library. However, a state law limits casino revenue to funding economic development and capital improvement, not operating costs. (from American Libraries)  

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Queens
P
07/14/2005
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Positive Impact: Calling public libraries "the best thing we have in our city," Queens Borough President Helen Marshall began touring the libraries across her borough this week. "We don't have gold mines or oil wells," Marshall said Tuesday as she visited the Queens Borough Public Library's Elmhurst branch. "Our greatest natural resource here is our people." Marshall, a former library director, said she is taking the tour to see for herself what the libraries plan to do with the millions in funding her office has recently allocated to them, according to newly appointed Queens Library Director Thomas Galante. "We usually get about $7 billion every year in public funding, but in the past two years, the borough president allocated $27 million to the libraries," Galante said. "She came through for us in a big way." That total, the director explained, is earmarked for improvements to Elmhurst and 16 other branches in the Queens system. The Elmhurst branch will use its $3.6 million to expand its space and install an elevator, new furniture and new heating and ventilating systems. Galante estimated that the the renovations should be complete in about three years. The renovations will allow customers with special needs to have better access to the library, said Elmhurst branch manager Yasha Hu. (from the Daily News)  

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Niagara Falls Public Library and LaSalle branch Niagara Falls
P
07/08/2005
Negative Impact: Following the defeat of a public referendum that would have allowed it to survive a million-dollar cut the city made to its budget last December, the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Public Library and its LaSalle branch could close their doors permanently on August 1. The financially strapped city said last year that it could only afford about half of the $2.1 million that library officials needed for operating costs in 2005. Residents then rejected by only 480 votes a June 21 referendum that would have created a new district to fund library operations through property taxes instead of the city coffers, the June 22 Niagara Gazette reported. Although city funding ran out at the end of June, NFPL Executive Director Betty Babanoury told American Libraries that Mayor Vince Anello came up with enough to keep the library open through July. But if nothing is done to fund it for the rest of the year, 45 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs and Niagara Falls will lose its library. To prepare for that possibility, the board appointed at the beginning of June a “closure coordinator,” former Canisius College Library Director George Telatnik, who confessed to Babanoury that this was “the worst possible job he'd ever been assigned.” “We really don't know anything about closing a library,” Babanoury told AL, “but we have been in touch with David Palmquist, head of the New York State Chartering Office, and he has located a storage facility in Rotterdam, New York, on a military base where we could move our local history collection intact.” The collection acquired many valuable and irreplaceable items in 2000 when the Niagara Falls Historical Society dissolved. Meanwhile, NFPL trustees filed a lawsuit against the city in state court June 30, contending that city council had actually agreed to transfer the full $2.1 million the library requested and never lowered the dollar amount, Babanoury explained. Library officials have scheduled a meeting with councilors July 12 to go over the budget again. “Both the council and Mayor Anello would like the library to stay open,” Babanoury said. One contingency plan proposed by Council Chairman Charles Walker is to use $1.4 million of the income from the Seneca Niagara Casino for the main library, while the city budget could fund the LaSalle branch Babanoury emphasized that if the library closes, it would be permanently. “But that decision has to go before the citizens of Niagara Falls as a vote because the library is in the city charter,” she added. “And I haven't run across anyone in the past six months who wants the library to close. It's been around a long time, since 1895.” (from American Libraries)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls Public Library Niagara Falls
P
07/08/2005
Negative Impact: Closing the city's public libraries may require a vote by the public, and Library Board of Trustees President Dolores Marino said Thursday that unless funding is found to keep the public service open, that vote should be taken soon. During an interview Thursday, Library Director Betty Babanoury said, "Someone has to step forward and let me know what exactly they want me to do with this library (system)." The city's two libraries were funded for half of their estimated $2 million budget in the 2005 city operating budget. Two weeks after residents voted against funding the library through a separate property tax, and a week after the City Council defeated a measure to fund it through July with emergency money, Babanoury said she still hasn't received any guidance. A state official said this week that although a city shouldn't technically be able to close a library by not funding it, the law may not be black and white. "There's the law on the books, and there's the reality of who is funding you, " said Joseph Mattie, regional consultant for the state Division of Library Development. "They have to consider both. If the city won't fund them, and the residents didn't vote to tax themselves for a public library, then what is their choice?" The city's public library system has spent most of the $1 million provided by the city this year. The Library Board brought a lawsuit against the city last week seeking the full $2 million appropriated to it in the first pages of the adopted 2005 city budget. Library spending has come under recent criticism by City Council members. Councilman Lewis Rotella said he is frustrated that the library system will not downsize or reduce its budget, and he believes that's the only way to keep it open for the rest of the year. But the libraries downtown and in LaSalle are subject to state education laws, which mandate that a library in a city the size of Niagara Falls must stay open for 55 hours per week. If the library system violates that provision, it loses the ability to receive public funding, its sole source of operating costs. Another item of contention has been the roughly $250,000 in annual state and county grant money the library system receives but does not include in its operating budget. Grants are never definite, must be used for specific purposes and should not be mixed in with the city appropriation, Mattie said. "Any auditor will tell you that," he said. "You wouldn't project a budget on state aid." City Controller Maria Brown has attacked that notion many times this year, saying that she has not received a report of the grants the library receives. Babanoury said that report was handed out last year at budget time and is available upon request. This week, City Administrator Daniel Bristol served the library with a Freedom of Information Request that sought records on all grant funding, revenues made by the library gift shop, overdue books and copy charges, as well as financial reports and receipts from the past four years. Bristol said the controller's office will audit the library's finances. (from the Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Tompkins County Public Library Ithaca
P
07/06/2005
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Positive Impact: The Tompkins County Public Library will be purchasing 12 new computers, a new book check-in system and a microfilm reader after the Legislature approved a $26,000 funding request on Tuesday. The library requested the funding through the county's contingency process, which is used when departments do not have the funding to cover expenses through the normal budget process or there is an emergency need for funds. The library's funding will buy a replacement microfilm reader at a cost of $3,965. It will also buy a replacement check-in system at a cost of $10,000 that will allow the library's circulation staff to check books in by scanning it with laser beam technology. The library will also spend $12,000 to replace 12 computers. Library Director Janet Steiner said the funding was needed for all three purchases, especially with the library moving to a new online cataloging system on Monday through the Finger Lakes Library System. (from The Ithaca Journal)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
06/29/2005
Negative Impact: The Niagara Falls Public Library board Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the City of Niagara Falls in State Supreme Court seeking an additional $1 million in support. The library was funded at about $1 million -- half its yearly operating costs -- in the 2005 city operating budget. But a summary sheet at the beginning of the adopted city spending plan showed the library's allocation as $2 million. The city says it doesn't have the $1 million to make up the difference and disputes that $2 million was the amount allocated. The lawsuit asserts that because the city underfunded the library in its 2005 budget, it may cause the library to close. According to the complaint, state education law only allows a library to be abolished by a public vote. A vote of that kind has not taken place. The City Council voted Monday night against a measure that would have provided the library $145,000 from its fund balance to stay open for another month. (from The Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
06/28/2005
Negative Impact: The City Council on Monday defeated the only plan on the table that addressed the future of the city's libraries. Last week, voters rejected a referendum to fund the public libraries through a separate property tax, which would have made up for $1 million -- half its yearly costs -- cut from the city's 2005 operating budget. Four members of the Council were present at the afternoon work session at which Mayor Vince Anello introduced a last-minute resolution to transfer $145,000 from the city's fund balance to the library system. That would have kept the libraries open for one more month while a committee that has not yet been formed would seek ways to keep them open and identify future funding sources. Because of the 2-2 vote -- with Councilmen Lewis Rotella and Robert Anderson Jr. opposed because the transfer would have used one-third of the city's $500,000 emergency fund -- the measure didn't make it onto the agenda for the regular Council meeting Monday evening. About 25 residents wearing "Support Our Library" stickers attended anyway, and a handful spoke to ask the Council to find funds to keep the libraries open. Library leaders have said the $1 million currently funded by the city is enough to keep the libraries open through the end of the month, while Anello said he calculated that they should be able to operate through the end of July. After the meeting, Library Director Betty Babanoury said the libraries could stay open that long if the city waives the $302,000 annual rent it charges for the Earl W. Brydges Library building. The Niagara Falls Library board of trustees voted last week to file a lawsuit against the city to get the full $2 million allocation listed for the library on a summary page at the beginning of the adopted 2005 city budget. City Controller Maria Brown has said that line is incorrect and that the real allocation is stated in a detailed section of the library budget at just more than $1 million. The library board's attorney, Edward Perlman, will file a lawsuit with State Supreme Court today to ask a judge to issue a ruling on the discrepancy. (from Buffalo News)  

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Suffern and Sloatsburg libraries Westerchester County
P
06/24/2005
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Positive Impact: Residents turned out in force this week to overwhelmingly approve budget increases for the Suffern and Sloatsburg libraries. Ruth Bolin, the Suffern Library director, said the vote drew 590 ballots, the highest in the past five years. The two libraries are within the Ramapo Central School District. Both have seen growth in their use, and they requested a total increase of $125,287 for several projects, including purchasing more books, magazines and other media. Suffern Library's budget will now be $2.3 million; Sloatsburg Library's budget will be $290,000. The average resident will see the tax payment rise about $13.30 next year. The proposition before voters included $108,796 for the Suffern Library and $16,491 for the Sloatsburg Library. The money will be used to purchase materials and pay for increased staff benefits and computer and building maintenance. At Suffern, the money also will pay for the facility's wireless computer upgrades, a redesign of the Web site to make more services available online and to buy more large-print books. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
06/23/2005
Negative Impact: The Niagara Falls Library Board decided Wednesday it will sue the city and seek the full $2 million appropriated to the library system in the city's 2005 operating budget. The action came the morning after voters rejected a proposition to form a school district library and fund it through an additional property tax. The vote was 1,669 to 1,195. While board members expected to discuss closing the main library on Main Street and the LaSalle branch by July 1, they decided instead that they will fight to keep them open. Mayor Vince Anello announced after learning of the planned lawsuit that he will recommend at Monday's City Council meeting that money from the city's fund balance -- which is at $500,000 -- be appropriated to keep the library open through July. He estimated the cost to be between $130,000 and $150,000. Anello also said he will appoint a five-member committee to investigate by the end of July ways to keep the library system open the rest of this year, and to support it financially next year. Various lawyers advised the Library Board that it should just continue as usual, "as if nothing happened, because the city is obliged to pay for the library," Board President Dolores Marino said during the Wednesday board meeting. The City Council and the mayor adopted a budget this year that allocates $2 million for the library system, but only transfers slightly more than $1 million from property taxes. Struggling under a $4 million deficit left from 2003, Council members and Anello never figured out a way to fund the remaining $1 million. City leaders claim there isn't another $1 million to fulfill the $2 million appropriation, but library leaders said they believe if it is in the budget, it should be funded. The city is in a financial bind, having recently received a bleak independent audit of its finances. At 92 percent of its state allowance for property taxes, the city also has a dwindling emergency fund balance that could negatively affect its ability to borrow. The Council passed a resolution in April asking that Anello use money from the New York Power Authority relicensing settlement, the local share of the Seneca Niagara Casino revenue or any other source to keep the library open. Anello said casino money cannot be used for recurring expenses and that he doesn't expect an early authority payment from a Niagara Power Project relicensing that won't go into effect until 2007. While library leaders want a court opinion on the budget discrepancy, they also say the library can't be shut down because, according to state education law, a vote that specifically asks residents whether they want a library must be taken in order for one to close, Marino said. Tuesday's vote asked whether residents wanted to fund the library through a new property tax instead of through the city's budget. Marino advised Attorney Edward Perlman, who has been hired by the library board, to file the lawsuit by Friday. (Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
06/19/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: The 110-year-old Niagara Falls Public Library is trying to break away from the roller coaster funding it receives from the city budget each year, something possible if voters decide Tuesday that they are willing to add a line to their property tax bill. "The referendum is the best thing that's happened to the library," said Peggy Skotnicki, a member of the library board of Trustees. "Five dollars a month is inexpensive, and that's sufficient to run a library." Mayor Vince V. Anello proposed, and the Council approved, a 2005 operating budget that funds the library at $1 million, half its yearly costs. The city's failure to make the public service a priority this year forced the library board to seek funding elsewhere. It looks to create a school district library system whose money is raised by a separate property tax line. If voters approve, they will be asked every year from now on to approve or reject a proposed library budget. But first things first. Voters in the city will have a voice at the polls from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday. They will be asked to approve a school district library system that would take the control of library funding away from City Hall. They also will be asked to approve the library's $1.8 million budget and choose five candidates to serve on the library board. A similar request failed with voters in 2001. Under the tax rate, a resident who owns a home assessed at $50,000 would pay $63 a year, while the owner of a $100,000 commercial building would pay $182. A school district library is so named, not because it has anything to do with public schools, but because it would be paid for by taxes on residents who own property within the boundaries of the Niagara Falls School District. Those boundaries are the same as that of the city. Under that funding structure, the budget is submitted by library leaders to taxpayers, not politicians, to decide if they can afford a budget change that would result in a tax hike. Babanoury said the library will not ask for more than $1.8 million for the first three years if voters approve the switch. (from Buffalo News)  

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Pearl River Library Westerchester County
P
06/08/2005
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Positive Impact: Voters approved a $1.8 million budget for the Pearl River Library and narrowly re-elected board member Thomas Quinlan. The 2005-06 budget passed 256 to 159. "We're really quite elated," Library Director Carolyn E. Johnson said after the vote. "It seems the community is very supportive of the program we're trying to present." Board President Anne Brebbia has said the budget's 4 percent spending increase was due to rising salaries and health insurance costs, as well as increased library programming. (from The Journal News)  

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New York
a
06/06/2005
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Fundraising Results: Columbia University Libraries, New York, has been awarded $626,000 by the National Endowment for the Humanities to preserve brittle volumes of East European history and literature written in Slavic languages between 1850 and 1960 in Russia and Eastern Europe. The funding will support the fourth and final phase of the seven-year Slavic Culture and History Project, resulting in archival-quality master microfilms. More than 18,000 volumes of archival microfilm have been produced to date. Phase four, to run for two years, will begin in July, with a goal of filming damaged monograph and serials volumes and placing the tables of contents of these serials online. (from Library Hotline)  

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Waterford Public Library Waterford
P
06/03/2005
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Positive Impact: Voters approved the Waterford Public Library's $253,655 budget for 2005-06 by a tally of 78 to 11. The budget increases spending by 3.5 percent and the tax rate by 4 cents per $1,000. In Waterford, the rate rises to $1.63 per $1,000 of assessed value. In Halfmoon, the rate goes to 92 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The library, now 110 years old, is upgrading its interior and circulation system starting today. It will reopen Tuesday. (from the Times Union)  

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Buffalo and Erie County
P
06/02/2005
Negative Impact: It's coming down to crunch time for the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system. Funding for new materials is needed soon, or else library officials will have to consider coming up with the money by cutting service or even closing branches this year, explained Michael C. Mahaney, library director. Latest best sellers, new DVDs and the hottest CDs are the bread and butter of library circulation. But those purchases have been cut back this year in the midst of Erie County's budget crisis, causing circulation to suffer. "Yes, we have lots and lots of materials, but that's not the kind of things people come in for regularly to borrow," Mahaney said. The Erie County Legislature is expected today to consider bonding money for capital improvements, including a requested $5 million for new library materials. That's how the county has chosen to fund new materials for the past few years. Legislator Demone A. Smith, who recently met with Mahaney and other library officials to hear their concerns, could not be reached for comment. Library officials have been buying new material with funds left over from last year. But that pot is down to about $200,000 and should be exhausted by the end of this month, Mahaney said. As a result, the library system has cut back this year on buying new material for its shelves - 13,000 titles were ordered the first four months of this year, compared to 68,000 during the first four months of last year. The number of best sellers purchased has been cut in half, while the waiting list for them grows, said Deputy Director Ruth A. Collins. Paperback purchases have been stopped. Standing orders, like updated almanacs and travel guides, have been canceled. New CDs are only being bought with proceeds from April's sale of thousands of duplicate CDs. And the library system is hoping for a donor to foot the bill for 300 copies of the new Harry Potter book coming out this summer. The lack of new titles, in fact, is largely to blame for the 15 percent drop in circulation from this time last year, Mahaney and Collins said. That means revenue from overdue books is down, too. Some library facilities apparently are faring better than others. For example, a recent $10,000 grant from Friends of the Orchard Park Public Library has helped that branch buy books that the county system might not have been able to supply, said Director Ann Laubacker. "We actually showed an increase in circulation in May," she said. "The community really stepped up to the plate." But Laubacker expects the supply of new books to tighten in the coming months. "Most prominent books that get the most press, we're getting," she said. "And we are ordering - and getting - our children's books. "We're doing the best we can on a limited basis," she added. Library officials aren't sure what the County Legislature will decide. Mahaney has told lawmakers he could stretch $5 million through next year. If the Legislature doesn't approve at least some money by late June, the library's board of directors will have to decide how to come up with some book money this year. "Whether it means closing libraries, that's for the board to decide," Mahaney said. "I don't know how far the board will be willing to go." And if library officials don't have to make the tough decisions for this year, they likely will for next year. County Executive Joel A. Giambra already has told library officials he doesn't plan to provide enough funding to keep all 52 county branches open next year. So quietly, behind the scenes, library administrators have been preparing and warning community leaders of possibilities. "What we're trying to do is be prepared for whatever funding the county will provide," Mahaney said. "Next year is a complete question mark." (from The Buffalo News)  

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Waterford Public Library Waterford
P
05/31/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Waterford-Halfmoon School District voters will consider a proposed $253,655 budget for 2005-06 to operate the Waterford Public Library. Voters will be asked to approve the proposed $253,655 budget, which is 3.5 percent higher than the current budget of $245,050. The proposed tax rate will increase by 4 cents per $1,000. In Waterford, the rate would increase to $1.63 per $1,000 of assessed value, while in Halfmoon, the rate would increase to 92 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Pearl River Public Library Westerchester County
P
05/29/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: The library board of trustees is proposing a $1.8 million budget for 2005-06, which represents a 4 percent spending increase. Property owners would pay about $237, on average, under a proposed budget that allocates money for rising salaries and health insurance costs, as well as increased programming at the Pearl River Public Library. The tax rate would be $1.31 per $1,000 if voters approve the measure on June 7. For a home assessed at $180,000, the hamlet's average, property owners would pay 3.7 percent, or about $12, more than this year. According to the budget, expenditures for salaries jumped by $41,000, to $981,298. Benefits increased by $25,000, to $298,965. Funds for programs are up by $3,000, to $25,000, under the proposal. Residents will vote June 7 on the Pearl River Public Library's proposed $1.8 million budget for 2005-06. (From The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Greenburgh Public Library Greenburgh
P
05/23/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The unincorporated area of Greenburgh, NY, will get an expanded and renovated $19.8 million library. Voters May 10 narrowly approved a property tax increase averaging an additional $68 a year over 25 years, despite opposition. 

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library New York
P
05/23/2005
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Fundraising Results: New York Public Library (NYPL) has sold a painting by Asher Durand for more than $35 million to Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton. NYPL announced in spring 2005 that it would sell 19 works of art to generate $75 million for its research collection endowment. NYPL will sell the remaining 18 pieces at auction in December. (from Library Hotline)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Haverstraw King’s Daughters Public Library Westerchester County
P
05/23/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters in the Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library district will be asked to approve a $4.3 million budget for 2005-06 that allocates funding for new books and materials, as well as for pay raises and increases in employee benefits. Taxes would go up about 4.1 percent under the spending plan, which is about $167,268 more than the present budget. The board has proposed $61,032 for new books and other materials, including audio video, DVD, CD-ROM and other technology equipment for its two facilities. Salaries make up about $1.8 million of the budget. Library Director Joanne Sininsky would earn about $112,000, while Assistant Director Donna Sopalsky would make $73,000 a year. The board has projected a 2.7 percent salary increase for its 72 employees, including part-time and full-time librarians, clerks, aides, other support staff and custodians. A fourth custodian would be hired to maintain both buildings, Grant said. Social Security, workers' compensation, unemployment, disability and health benefits are increasing $48,314. However, state retirement contributions are decreasing by $24,146, library board President Thomas F.X. Casey said. The board has proposed $60,000 to purchase new computers, install a curtain to block air from entering or exiting through the automatic doors of the new library and make interior renovations at the village library. Money is also budgeted for the new automated check-in system and for additional maintenance of the heating and cooling system for the new library, which broke down last year and closed the facility for a few days while it was being repaired. (from The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Nassau and Suffolk counties
P
05/19/2005
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Positive Impact: Amagansett: Voters approved, 87-26, a $6,447,568 budget for the 2005-06 school year that is 5.6 percent higher than the current budget and will raise taxes by 3.74 percent, from the current $21.41 per $100 of assessed value to $22.21. The $692,479 budget for the Amagansett public library was also approved, 85-26. In the Town of Huntington, the estimated tax rate will increase 8.12 percent, or $11.01 per $100 of assessed valuation. Voters also approved a $1.9million proposition to continue to fund the library. A proposition to pay $417,000 to the Suffolk Cooperative Library System so district residents can join a neighboring library also was approved, 405-200. There is no public library in East Quogue. And the proposal to pay $1,639,694 to the Suffolk Cooperative Library System to allow district residents to join a neighboring public library was approved, 1,730 to 838. There is no Eastport-South Manor community library. Voters also passed two propositions, one for the installation of lighting at the Westhampton Beach High School athletic fields, and the other to contract with the trustees of the Westhampton Free Library for $695,000 for the support and maintenance of that library. (from Newsday)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/18/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters yesterday approved a $2.01 million library budget that includes small increases for library programming and personnel. Under the new budget, library spending would be down slightly, and revenues are expected to be up. The total budget increase over last year is less than 1 percent, the library board said in a statement to voters. The library, which serves a population of 12,905, has experienced continued growth over the last few years. There were approximately 191,450 library visitors last year. Several thousand attended programs geared for children,adults and young adults. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/14/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: The City Council yesterday unanimously approved a plan to borrow $82.4 million to buy the city's Riverfront Library from the nonprofit that built it, a plan that will reap the city $20 million this year to stave off major cuts to city services and the public schools. The plan is a central facet in Mayor Phil Amicone's $750.2 million proposed 2005-06 budget. Together with slight municipal cuts and proposed increases to the city's property and real estate transfer tax, the $20 million expected from the library deal probably would avert the school funding crises of recent years, in which hundreds of school employees and programs have been cut. (The Journal News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Olean Public Library Buffalo
P
05/06/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Olean City School District residents voted 126-45 to authorize a $25,225 tax levy increase for funding of the Olean Public Library during the 2005-06 school year. The district must levy taxpayers to increase the library's appropriation to $882,713, with the remainder of the library's 2006 spending plan coming from other sources. The library's 2006 budget totals $1,061,753, including a 2.9 percent hike in spending for books and other library materials. Additional funds were needed due to increased costs expected for insurance and energy, according to library officials. (from Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Westerchester County
P
05/06/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The $5.96 million budget was approved by a 475-204 vote, library director Eleanor Kuhns said. Voter turnout was "moderate," she said. " The budget was a 5.8 percent increase over last year's, Kuhns said. The new spending plan will enable the library to increase computer room hours so the computers will be available whenever the library is open, Kuhns said. (From The Journal News  

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Library Name City Type Date
Baldwinsville Library Syracuse
P
05/05/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters overwhelmingly approved the 2005-06 budget for the Baldwinsville Public Library last week. The $1,177,000 budget was approved by a more than 3-to-1 margin, 228-71. The new budget carries an estimated 5 percent property tax rate increase for Baldwinsville Central School District residents. It's an increase of $57,500 in total expenditures over the last budget. So, residents with homes valued at $100,000 can expect to pay about $65 a year to support the library. That's an increase of $3.14. (from The Post-Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Hannibal Free Library Syracuse
P
05/03/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters in the Hannibal School District will soon decide the fate of a tiny library that has served its community for more than 60 years. For the first time, the Hannibal Free Library's budget will be put to a referendum when district residents vote May 17 on the school budget. But library supporters worry the school district's proposed $21.5 million budget - and the 40 percent tax increase it would entail - could leave voters in no mood to support the library. "It's going to be hard, but I guess it depends on who gets out to vote, " said Marlene Sutcliffe, library manager. "A lot of people use this library and if they get out to vote, we'll have a chance." She and others want district residents to understand that the votes on the school budget and the library budget are two separate things. The library's $35,000 budget plan would cost the average household less than $9 a year, according to Linda Remig, president of the library's board of trustees. A school district is a big, expensive thing to run. The Hannibal Free Library is not. This year, the library on Oswego Street is operating on an austerity budget of $26,000. It is relying on small fund-raisers, basket raffles and donations to keep its doors open 29 hours a week. That's the minimum required for libraries in New York state, Remig said. "We're not buying books, we have less periodicals, and our employees have not had a raise in the last four years," Remig said. The library has six part-time employees, and four of them earn minimum wage. For the past two years, Remig said, the library has received nothing from the Oswego County Legislature, which used to designate approximately $10,000 a year for the library's operation. The county Legislature stopped funding libraries to cut costs; the move saved taxpayers about $80,000 the first year. The smallest libraries, such as the ones in Hannibal, Constantia and Parish, are suffering the most. "The village and town have been trying to step up to the plate as much as they possibly can with their budgets, but they can't do it all," Remig said. "They really have done a great deal to help us, but it's just not enough." The village and town of Hannibal each contribute $5,000 a year. "With the county pulling back the funding for these libraries, they're really hurting," said Hannibal Town Supervisor Ronald Greenleaf. "For the little bit this will cost each (property owner), it is well worth it." (from The Post-Standard)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Corona Branch of the Queens Borough Public Library Queens
P
05/02/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The Corona Branch of the Queens Borough Public Library, NY, will reopen May 5, almost 50 percent larger than before. The redesign includes a new teen area, more materials for all ages wireless Internet access, laptops-for-loan within the library, and RFID circulation technology. The nearly $3 million project was funded by a combination of borough and city money. (from Library Hotline) 

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Library Name City Type Date
The Babylon Public Library Babylon
P
05/02/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: The Babylon Public Library, NY, is undergoing a $4.95 million expansion and renovation project, funded by a bond. An 8500 square foot addition will increase the space to 18,000 square feet. It is expected to open in January. (from Library Hotline) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Schenectady County Public Library Schenectady
P
04/25/2005
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Fundraising Results: Schenectady County Public Library, NY, will undergo a $5 million expansion of its main library, located in downtown Schenectady. Two years ago the city approved a $2 million bond, challenging the library to raise the remaining $3 million. Half of that has been raised with the help of an all-volunteer capital campaign committee, the library’s first. To date, the library has raised a total of $1.5 million of the needed funds.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Saratoga Springs Public Library Saratoga Springs
P
04/15/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters approved a $4.67 million budget for the Saratoga Springs Public Library on Thursday by a vote of 326-91, allowing the library to improve its collections. The budget of $4,679,512 for 2005-06 is 4 percent, or $182,952, more than the 2004-05 budget. The tax levy increases by 2.9 percent to $4,379,512 as a result of the budget passing. Library Director Harry Dutcher said the expansion of the Saratoga Springs City School District's tax base will soften the projected 2 percent tax increase. The 2004-05 library tax rate is $1.02 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. A 2 percent increase would raise that about 2 cents. The library serves the residents of the city school district, which includes the city of Saratoga Springs and portions of the towns of Greenfield, Malta, Milton, Saratoga and Wilton. The library will add about 20,000 items to upgrade its collection as a result of the new budget. It also will finish modernizing its computer system. The library had its busiest year ever in 2004 as patrons checked out 664,000 items. It recorded 500,000 visits, sponsored more than 1,000 programs attended by 22,000 adults and children, and hosted 1,000 meetings by nonprofit organizations. The reference desk handled 66,000 questions, while 3,000 residents attended library computer class and more than 100,000 people used the library's public computers. (from The Times Union)  

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Library Name City Type Date
The New York Public Library New York
P
04/11/2005
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Potential Fundraising Activities: The New York Public Library has decided to sell 19 works of art from its collection so that it can better compete in acquisitions of important books and collections. Sotheby's, which has been retained by the library, estimates that the works will sell for $50 million to $75 million. The transactions will be handled either privately or by public auction. Paul LeClerc, the library's president, said all of the money would go toward buying books, manuscripts and other works on paper and toward bolstering the library's endowment. ''We're not a museum,'' he said. ''We don't have a staff devoted to paintings and sculptures. One of the thrills of running a great library is keeping up with the explosion of information. If we don't grow, we cannot maintain the claim that we are one of the greatest libraries in the world.'' Fund-raising at the library has remained strong, he said, but the library has sought to channel much of that money toward restoring the branch hours that it reduced for financial reasons after 9/11. In 2000, the library's endowment hit a high of $530 million, but because of 9/11 it dropped to $426 million by the end of 2002. The New York Public Library relies on private sources for 70 percent of its financing, Mr. LeClerc said. Asked if he expected a benefactor would emerge to enable the library to keep the artworks, he simply said no. He stressed that none of the money raised from the sale of the art would go toward daily operations.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
04/10/2005
Negative Impact: In June 2005, city residents will be asked to approve a school district library system that would take the control of library funding away from City Hall and give it directly to taxpayers. A similar request failed with voters in 2001. This time, the future of two public libraries in Niagara Falls could be at stake. A change would create a funding stream that is more reliable than the financial roller coaster that library officials have ridden in recent years. The City Council, with several pressing budget issues to prioritize, has struggled to make a firm commitment to libraries, and slashed its support this year. "I had $4.5 million in unpaid bills when I took office," Mayor Vince Anello said at a recent public meeting about the city libraries. "The truth is, we're broke and I'm charged with providing public health and public safety." Currently, the Council and mayor decide what amount of tax dollars from the city's operating budget will be set aside for the library. Depending on the economic pressures of that year, they fund it as they see fit. Anello, a first-term mayor, said when he was putting together the city's proposed 2005 operating budget that he had a choice: cut from snowplowing and police or underfund the library. He chose the library. Anello proposed a $1 million cut from the library's nearly $2 million budget. The move upset many residents, and the City Council has come under public attack for passing that budget, which, if left unchanged, would force the library to shut its doors July 1. When asked why the Council never addressed the lack of funding for the library during budget deliberations last fall, Chairman Charles Walker said, "I think the Council took for granted that the administration would come back later with a way to fund it." "We felt it wasn't going to come to this point," Walker said. "The issue is how do we get out of this situation?" The best solution, city and library leaders agree, would be a school district library system. "Each year it's a battle because the library budget is cut and it's not across the board (for city departments)," said Niagara Falls Library Director Betty Babanoury. Babanoury said forming a school district library is the only way to achieve reliable funding. In recent years, she said, she's had to cut staff and reduce full-time professional librarians to part-time status in order to keep libraries downtown and in LaSalle running. A school district library is so named, not because it has anything to do with public schools, but because it would be paid for by taxes on residents who own property within the boundaries of the Niagara Falls School District. Those boundaries are the same as that of the city. Under that funding structure, the budget is submitted by library leaders to taxpayers, not politicians, to decide if they can afford a budget change that would result in a tax hike. "It's the most democratic way to run a library," Babanoury said. If a referendum to form a school district library passes, taxpayers would be asked to support the library's $1.8 million budget and elect individuals to serve on the Library board of trustees. Currently, trustees are appointed by the mayor and approved by the City Council. Under the property tax rate, the library assessment would be $63 a year for a resident who owns a home worth $50,000, and $182 for a $100,000 commercial building. The problem: Anello said he can't promise that. He said he may need the money once used to fund the library to fill a city budget deficit. Anello said he favors the school district library because it would put the library budget into the hands of taxpayers, and because of the city has fast approached its property tax limit, set by the state constitution. "If we give it a temporary fix this year we'll have the exact same problem next year," the mayor said. Councilwoman Candra Thomason said if voters pass this year's referendum, she would push to eliminate the same amount of the library tax from the city's 2006 operating budget. A growing trend School and special district libraries are not uncommon in the area and are a growing trend nationally because they present a stable funding source. Many of the libraries in the county are small neighborhood libraries in the NIOGA system, an association that includes 21 libraries in Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties. Niagara Falls is the central library of that system, but because of its financial troubles Mary Brink, executive director of the NIOGA system, said she has been instructed by state officials to have a back-up central library chosen in case the worst occurs in the Cataract City. Each year for a resident who owns a home worth $50,000, and $182 for a $100,000 commercial building. Many of the libraries in the county are small neighborhood libraries in the NIOGA system, an association that includes 21 libraries in Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties. Niagara Falls is the central library of that system, but because of its financial troubles Mary Brink, executive director of the NIOGA system, said she has been instructed by state officials to have a back-up central library chosen in case the worst occurs in the Cataract City. Each library in the system shares books, but Niagara Falls has the largest adult nonfiction collection, Brink said. "Public libraries are not mandated, so why not give people the right to decide what they want," Brink said. "If you value a library, you are more likely to come out and support it, but if you can't vote, then it's someone like the Council or Town Board that will make that decision for you." The library referendum is tentatively set for June 21, and Council members have repeatedly promised residents that even if it fails they will not allow the city's libraries to close. In case voters decide they cannot bear an added tax this year, the City Council has passed a resolution, sponsored by Thomason, requesting Anello to appropriate budget amendments to provide additional funding for the library. It would come either from the New York Power Authority relicensing settlement on the Niagara Power Project, or the local share of Seneca Niagara Casino revenue. (from Buffalo News)  

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Library Name City Type Date
North Tonawanda Public Library Buffalo
P
04/08/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters approved a North Tonawanda Public Library budget for 2005-06. The measure passed, 339-66, said Deborah Marshall of the business office. The $1.3 million budget is 2.5 percent higher than the current budget and will mean an average of $2 more per household in property taxes, library officials said. Library circulation increased by 5 percent during the last year, with 485,669 items borrowed; 290,777 people visited during the year. (from The Buffalo News) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Earl W. Brydges and LaSalle Branch Library buildings Niagara Falls
P
03/22/2005
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Bond Issues & Misc.: Some City Council members doubt residents would vote for an added tax to fund the city's libraries. Because of that uncertainty, and with more questions about the library's budget, the Council again delayed voting on a lease agreement with the Niagara Falls Library board of trustees. The lease agreement would aid the library by replacing the annual $300,000 rent charged for the Earl W. Brydges and LaSalle Branch Library buildings with a 10-year, rent-free lease. The city's 2005 operating budget only funds the library at $1 million, half its yearly operating costs. The Library board hopes to seek voter approval to form a school district library and pass its own $1.8 million budget, which would be paid for with a separate library tax on residents instead of coming out of the city budget. Under the tax rate, a resident who owns a home assessed at $50,000 would pay $63 a year, and a $100,000 commercial building would pay $182. Without the agreement, a big part of the library's budget is undefined, said Library Director Betty Babanoury. Councilmen Lewis "Babe" Rotella and Robert Anderson Jr. said they plan to meet with Babanoury and are expected to ask how the library can reduce its budget and whether it would agree to move into a smaller, less-expensive building, they said. A vote must be taken between April 1 and June 30. "I think you can't sell this in the time allotted," Councilwoman Candra Thomason said. "I've been against this the whole way," she said. "We should have funded the library for the whole year because at this point we don't have a clear-cut view of what residents would say." She said if the library became a school district library next year, she would eliminate $2 million from the operating budget to make up for the cost to taxpayers but wasn't able to do that in this year's budget. Council Chairman Charles Walker, though, supports the lease and said he hopes voters would approve a school district library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo and Erie County library system Buffalo and Erie County library system
P
02/27/2005
Negative Impact: Library trustees recently adopted a $26 million budget for 2005. Despite some perceptions that the library has gone unscathed during Erie County's ongoing budget crisis, according to the library’s director the 2005 library system budget reflects at least $4.2 million in cuts. More than 100 full- and part-time positions have been eliminated or downgraded; Sunday hours continue at only a few libraries; and bookmobiles are off the road. All of this occurs at a time when public library activity in Erie County has reached an all-time high, with annual circulation surpassing 9 million items. The library system has reduced acquisitions to a trickle and are draining their final reserves from 2004 while awaiting release of 2005 capital funds  

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Library Name City Type Date
Your Home Public Library and The George F. Johnson Memorial Library Endicott and Johnson City
P
02/09/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Library directors in Endicott and Johnson City hailed a state Supreme Court ruling dismissing a lawsuit that sought to overturn the Union library tax district. The ruling paves the way for the village libraries to move forward with their new town-wide funding source. "It's a victory for our entire community," said Janet Ottman, director of Your Home Public Library in Johnson City. Edward Dunscombe, director of the George F. Johnson Memorial Library in Endicott, said the decision "was quite definitive." "Now we can get back to the business of running the library," he said. The town-wide tax district raises $1.37 million annually. The Endicott library will get $815,200, while the Johnson City library will receive $557,821. Previously, they received a combination of village, Broome County and state monies. Now Broome County legislators must decide what to do with $900,000 that had been set aside this year to fund the two village libraries if the Nov. 2 vote failed. If not needed, the money was targeted for a tax-stabilization fund. The Legislature's Finance Committee will review its 2005 funding proposal for libraries in Deposit, Fenton, Lisle, Nineveh, Vestal and Whitney Point. Vestal's library could see its allocation more than double to $259,000, compared to $118,000 this year. The other allocations are: Deposit Free Library, $5,254; Mary Wilcox Memorial Library, Whitney Point, $27,940; Fenton Free Library, $37,800; Lisle Free Library, $13,609; and Nineveh Public Library, $4,245.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Chili Public Library Rochester
P
01/16/2005
Negative Impact: An $8,400 shortfall in the 2005 library budget has forced Sunday closings at the Chili Public Library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
West Pittston and Wyoming Free libraries Wilkes Barre
P
01/12/2005
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The West Pittston and Wyoming Free libraries will have an extra $1,000 each this fiscal year and next, thanks to opposing motions by two factions of the Wyoming Area School board. The issue of library funding was put on the floor by board member Eugene Thomas, who proposed a motion doubling the $1,000 the district gives to each library. Tempers flared during a discussion initiated by board President Bob Orlando about whether Thomas meant to increase the funding this year as an unbudgeted expense or add it to next year's budget, which finalizes in June. "I know how many of our children go to these libraries. We've been spending money right along and I don't think $2,000 for this now is going to hurt us," Thomas said as he and board members Toni Valenti, Nick DeAngelo and Anthony Sobeski spoke in support of an immediate increase. Board member Tom Vaxmonsky amended Thomas' motion to add the increase only to next year's budget. Vaxmonsky's motion passed 5-4, with Vaxmonsky, Orlando, Dominick Aritz, Marilyn Gubbiotti and Mary Lou Pisano in favor. The issue of additional funding for this year seemed dead until Aritz proposed a vote on the initial motion as well. "To me, libraries are one of the most important things," Aritz said. Aritz, Valenti, Sobeski, DeAngelo and Thomas supported this motion, which also passed 5-4. (from the Wilkes Barre Times Leader)  

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Library Name City Type Date
Hamburg
P
01/06/2005
Negative Impact: The three library branches in the Town of Hamburg will be open a total of 33 fewer hours a week because of the Erie County budget crisis. A new schedule goes into effect that reflects an attempt to balance usage and the fact that the libraries have lost three staff positions because of retirement.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Library System Queens
P
12/07/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: THE QUEENS Borough Public Library has received a $100,000 grant from Queens County Savings Bank for books, programs and services - which remain at risk to be reduced or eliminated by budget cuts. The announcement was made by library officials yesterday at the Flushing branch, one of 63 branches in the Queens Library system. The $100,000 grant is part of a dollar-for-dollar matching program, a marketing effort designed to motivate library users to make donations to the library system.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagara Falls
P
11/26/2004
Negative Impact: The city library wants its entire $1 million 2005 budget by Jan. 4 in order to pay the cost of becoming a special-district library, and it has decided to look for a new location. This year the library must use its budget -- just half of what it received last year -- to preserve books and artifacts before it closes in June, and to launch a public relations campaign to explain what a school district library is and why residents should approve it. The city library is only funded for half of next year under the recently approved 2005 city spending plan. The library board plans to become a school district library, a measure that must first be approved by the Niagara Falls Board of Education and then passed by voters in a spring referendum. A similar attempt was defeated by voters in 2001. Library board members say even if the measure passes -- which would create a separate library tax to be collected at the same time as school taxes -- the facility will have to close until the new taxes are paid in August and November. While library leaders prepare for a possible closing, the city will apply for tax anticipation notes to keep it open to the end of 2005.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Mount Vernon Public Library Mount Vernon
P
11/24/2004
Negative Impact: The library director also said that he hoped the funds could be used to maintain the day-to-day operations of the library. Sunday hours have been cut, 20 positions will remain vacant and funds are needed to replace many of the books destroyed by flooding.  

Positive Impact: Mount Vernon to get $260,000 to fight problems in the century-old structure of the Mount Vernon Public Library. On the same day Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced $260,000 in federal funds were available for the Mount Vernon Public Library, the City Council declared an emergency situation at the library for the third time, waiving the rule mandating competitive bidding for work on the temporary repairs. The funds were included in the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which is expected to be signed by President Bush before the end of the year. The century-old Mount Vernon Public Library, the central library for the county, has been plagued with problems recently, the worst of which is a chronically leaky roof that has forced the library to close several times. The City Council has approved more than $2 million in bonds for the building's problems. According to the statement from Schumer, the funds are to be used for updating the physical plant, technology and wiring, as well as upgrading the library's collections of books, audio and video tapes, computer system and desktop units. The library director said he was extremely pleased by the news of the funds.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Iona College New Rochelle
a
11/22/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Funding included in new Senate and House FY05 Omnibus Appropriations bill Funds will go towards technology upgrades at the Ryan Library on Iona College's campus. US Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that Congress passed the FY05 Omnibus Appropriations bill which included $75,000 for technology upgrades at Iona College's Ryan Library. The funding will be used for technology upgrades including digitizing collections of general and ongoing interest to members of the Iona Community; purchasing electronic collections; video conferencing for classroom and library presentations; and satellite TV for expanding access to information broadcast from foreign-language and other educational sites.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Lewiston Library Lewiston
P
11/20/2004
Negative Impact: The Lewiston Library will be funded $290,000 next year. That's $60,000 less than requested. Some city councilmen are putting the incentive on the Library Board to seek funding from the village.  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library New York
P
11/19/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The New York Public Library is getting ready to expand hours and services and to restructure itself to organize the neighborhood branch libraries more closely with the library’s central operations. The library, located at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, will begin a six-day schedule for the first time since 1970. It also will lengthen operating hours at nearly half its 85 branches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. A sixth day of service will be restored at 14 additional branches early next year. The changes do not impact libraries in Queens and Brooklyn, which operate independently. The money for the expanded hours comes from recent additions to the library's budget from New York City. The library also announced that it received $25 million, its largest single-party donation, from Robert W. Wilson, the financier and philanthropist. The Mellon Foundation gave another $5 million. The additional hours restore some but not all of the cuts in service caused by reductions in the city's budget after the terrorist attacks in 2001. They also represent an expansion of operations being planned by Paul LeClerc, president of the library, and Catherine C. Marron, who yesterday was appointed chairwoman of the library, succeeding Samuel C. Butler. About $8 million of the $25 million from Mr. Wilson would support the cataloging of collections that have been unprocessed and inaccessible to researchers at the Library for the Performing Arts, the research branch at Lincoln Center. The other $17 million would pay for materials and technology and preserve existing collections at all the research libraries, including the Schomburg Center, the Science, Industry and Business Library in Midtown and the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, at the main building. The Mellon grant would also support acquisitions and the operating budget of the research libraries.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo
P
11/15/2004
Negative Impact: In reaction to the news that all 52 public libraries will close after Jan. 1 unless the county resolves its funding crisis, nearly 600 people have written to the library to protest the cuts and describe ways that libraries have changed their lives. Volunteers have set up tables at some suburban libraries to raise awareness. In other places, petition drives are under way. In Cheektowaga, 200 schoolchildren in the Maryvale School District started a letter-writing campaign to try to save the libraries. The county budget proposed by County Executive Joel A. Giambra would cut funding for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system by $19.3 million next year, to $4.9 million. The Giambra administration claims such cuts are necessary. Because county funding determines how much state support a library system receives, library officials have estimated the libraries would take an even greater hit of about $23 million -- 80 percent of the system's current operating budget.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Orangetown
P
11/13/2004
Negative Impact: Orangetown will start examining budgets at libraries in four hamlets –Blauvelt, Tappan, Orangeburg and Palisades- in attempts to cut back spending. A city official, who wanted to reduce the expenses, said it was too late to make changes to the $51.7 million 2005 budget that was approved last month, of which the four libraries made up $2.3 million 

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Library Name City Type Date
Buffalo County Library System Buffalo
P
11/05/2004
Negative Impact: Buffalo county libraries face the prospect of severe budget cuts if proposed county budget reductions are passed. The library system, which currently received about $30 million from the county, might be left with just $7.2 million, forcing it to close all 52 branch libraries, including the central library in Buffalo.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Syracuse-area libraries Syracuse
P
11/02/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Voters recently apporved the library's budget referendum and trustee election. This will our libraries in Brewerton, Cicero and North Syracuse to maintain current service levels. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Public libraries across Erie County Erie County
P
10/22/2004
Negative Impact: Libraries are anticipating a $18 million cut in county funding that would cut the 52-branch library system's 2005 operating budget by more than 50 percent. The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library system receives county funding of $30 million. A cut of $18 million represents more than half the county funding. Of the $30 million, $25 million serves as an operating budget for the system and $5 million goes toward capital spending on books and materials. The library also receives just under $3 million a year from the state, or a little less than 10 percent of its funding. Branch libraries throughout Erie County rely on county funding to operate. Library officials say they may be forced to close their doors if the major funding cutback announced by the Giambra administration takes place. Losing $18 million in county funding would probably lead to an additional $3 million loss of state aid contingent on meeting minimum standards. Library officials anticipate having to close libraries. They said that the library has already left several vacant positions unfilled and cut spending. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Castleton Public, Nassau Free and East Greenbush Community Albany
P
10/22/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The town budget will increase spending for the three libraries by $16,632 or just under 10 percent over last year. The town has no library so the budget provides funding for the three libraries residents use. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Onondaga County public libraries Onondaga County
P
10/20/2004
Negative Impact: Onondaga County public libraries are asking patrons to help get $4.5 million in library funding restored to the state budget. Gov. George Pataki proposed reducing the state library fund by that amount to $84.4 million. Libraries across the county are distributing form letters county residents can send to members of the Legislature, asking them to override the veto. A cut in state funding would lead to a $500,000 reduction in federal funding. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Ballston Community Library Albany
P
10/17/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: The Town Board will pay off its debt on the Ballston Community Library in next year's budget. Supervisor Ray Callanan said the tentative budget allots $400,000 to retire the bond the town floated in order to build the $1.7 million library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagra Falls Niagra Falls
P
10/11/2004
Negative Impact: The Niagra Falls Public Library board of trustees has agreed to take steps to ask voters to approve that the library become a school district library in order to ensure that the library remains open and funded. The measure would not affect whom the library serves because the boundaries of the city and the school district are the same. But if approved by voters in a spring referendum, the measure would change the way the library is funded and how its board members are chosen. The mayor’s 2005 proposed budget funds the library at only $1 million, which is half its minimum yearly operating costs.  

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Library Name City Type Date
Yonkers
s
09/11/2004
Negative Impact: Budget Cuts Leave Gaps in Yonkers Schools, Most library skills classes eliminated as the the Board of Education, faces a $25 million budget shortfall.  

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Library Name City Type Date
East Greenbush Community Library Albany
P
09/04/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Town voters have approved the East Greenbush Community Library's 2005 budget by a vote of 188 to 94. Next year's budget is $1.33 million, a 9 percent increase from the 2004 budget of $1.21 million. The additional money will go toward increases in health and insurance costs, as well as a 3 percent pay raise for all 43 members of the library staff, said library director D.L. Hobert. Some of the money will also go toward additional materials for the 150-year-old library, said Hobert, who added the town's growing population means the library needs to grow as well.  

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Library Name City Type Date
P
08/30/2004
Negative Impact: The NY Library Association is calling for legislators to override Gov. Pataki's cut of $4.478 million in library aid and $337,500 in state funding for the New York Public Library's Science, Industry, and Business Library and CUNY Initiative. Many libraries that were counting on the restoration are going to have to cut back on hours, services, and programming. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Middleburgh Library Middleburgh
P
08/25/2004
Negative Impact: The new library will be closed on Mondays and Wednesdays starting Sept. 1. Closing the two extra days was prompted by the defeat of the library budget in two votes this spring. The library will be able to save money on utilities and personnel by being closed the extra two days, and the library has to cut back now before funding becomes crucial. The reduced hours come at a time when business at the library is booming. 

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Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters turned down a measure to increase the library funding from $40,000 to $80,000 during the school budget vote in May and defeated a similar request in June. Voters also turned down a request to increase the tax levy from $40,000 to $60,000 last year. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Hillsdale Library Hillsdale
P
08/24/2004
Negative Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: The library is going directly to the voters to request annual funding to cover its operating budget. The library currently receives its financial support from an annual fund drive and voluntary contributions from the county and the three towns. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Onondaga County
P
08/21/2004
Negative Impact: As a result of Gov. Pataki's vetoes, county officials had identified a $77,000 cut to the public library budget. 

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Library Name City Type Date
P
08/20/2004
Negative Impact: Gov. Pataki issued 195 vetoes, cutting $1.8 billion in spending and borrowing in the state budget approved by the Legislature. Among the cuts were $15 million for school districts and their libraries, $4.4 million for public libraries, and $225,000 for the New York Public Library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Rochester School District Rochester
s
08/19/2004
Negative Impact: The school district must reduce spending by $13.6 million. The cuts include reducing the number of librarians, including the seven librarians that were supposed to be hied this year for elementary schools. In most cases when librarians aren't there the libraries are closed to students. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Tompkins County Public Library
P
08/02/2004
Negative Impact: While library spending was kept in check in 2003, its revenues fell 14 percent, or more than $418,000, than the previous year. The library's financial situation is getting worse as county and state funding isn't meeting increased costs. The library has cut back on nine full-time positions since November 2000. The county cut its contributions to the library from $1.946 million in 2002 to $1.887 million in 2003. Two years ago, the library subscribed to 300 magazines. This year, 60 were cut out. Next year, 100 more subscriptions are scheduled to be cut unless members of the community "adopt" a magazine for the library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Beekman Library Poughquag
P
07/26/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: When the new library is complete, officials will need more money for more hours and programs and materials. Officials will ask voters in November to increase funding to the library by $138,980. Library officials want to add operating hours to the library and add programs and books clubs. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Binghamton University Binghamton
a
07/09/2004
Negative Impact: The university's libraries rely on the political budget process and is continually strapped for funds. The Science Library's journal collection has been hurt because the state has cut funding to the university. Late state budgets have curtailed book purchases and hiring of faculty. Reduced funding has also forced the university to store a significant portion of its collections off-site, making it more difficult for students and faculty to access them. As student enrollment has increased, library staffing has remained static. 

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Library Name City Type Date
George F. Johnson Memorial Library Endicott
P
07/09/2004
Negative Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: The Endicott and Johnson City libraries have polling community support for the townwide library taxing district. The survey shows that 68 percent of respondents endorsed the tax proposal. The libraries need 2,000 signatures on the petition to approve the special taxing questions on the ballot. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Borough Public Library Queens
P
06/24/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The city budget was passes with $10 million in library funding restored. The additional funds allocated to libraries will allow the library to maintain the current service levels. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Hillsdale Library Hillsdale
P
06/15/2004
Negative Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: The Hillsdale Library Board of Trustees has begun circulating petitions for a ballot referendum on Chapter 414 library funding in the towns of Hillsdale, Copake, and Ancram. Chapter 414 of New York State Education Law allows citizens of a municipality to vote on increases in funding to their library. The petitions call for Hillsdale to increase its contribution to the library by $18,600 tp $23,600 annually; Copake, by $34,000 to $37,500 annually; and Ancram, by $16,600 to $18,100 annually. The Chapter 414 procedure will equalize contributions between the towns. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Suffolk County Community College
a
06/09/2004
Negative Impact: Cuts in the capital program of Suffolk County include renovations to the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus library. 

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Library Name City Type Date
P
06/04/2004
Negative Impact: State funding for local libraries is still based on the outdated 1990 federal census and not adjusted for inflation. Census 2000 was supposed to mean about $2.4 million in additional state aid to public libraries in growing communities, including about $375,000 a year for Long Island library districts. State lawmakers should update the funding formula with more accurate numbers. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Borough Public Library Queens
P
06/03/2004
Negative Impact: The mayor's proposed budget calls for $13.3 million in cuts from the library's budget, with the state threatening to withhold an additional $300,000. Queens political leaders want to see at least $4.1 million restored, which would allow for five-day service at all libraries, and to freeze service at 2003 levels. The library system has 40 percent fewer books than it did last year, has suffered a substantial loss of hours, and began a hiring freeze in May 2003. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Rochester Public Library System Rochester
P
06/02/2004
Negative Impact: The library system's proposed budget calls for four hours to be cut at seven of 10 branches. Also, due to budget constraints by Monroe County, there will be $565,400 in cuts at the downtown location in the form of reduced staff, library materials, and subscriptions. Over the last two years, the library system has had a 30 percent reduction in staff and lost its bookmobile service. State aid to Rochester libraries has been static since 1997. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens public library Queens
P
05/27/2004
Negative Impact: AFter two consecutive years of cuts that have cost the library $10 million, the community is fighting back. As a result of budget cuts, the libraries have shorter hours and fewer librarians. The budget cuts have also forced the 63-branch library system to cut 200 employees. Library supporters are hoping to see the potential $4.1 million cut restored. 

Positive Impact:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens library system Queens
P
05/24/2004
Negative Impact: City councilman is calling for the restoration of some $3.2 million in reductions in the present mayoral budget and more than $10 million in cuts made in previous years. The current funding situation has caused library to reduce its services substantially. The libraries have seen cutbacks in the number of days and hours open, in maintenance, and in the purchase of books and materials. 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: Councilman made remarks at a rally on the steps of the Flushing library. 

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Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Peninsula Public Library Lawrence
P
05/20/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The library's budget, which called for a 4.5 percent increase, passed. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Geneva
P
05/16/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District will vote on a budget. Proposition Four will authorize the board to contribute $7,500 each to the Phelps Community Memorial Library and the Clifton Springs Library, with the moeny being raised through an additional property tax. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Oswego School District Public Library Oswego
P
05/12/2004
Negative Impact: The present library building is in need of repair and renovation and an upgrade of the technological infrastructure. 

Positive Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: The library district will be asking voters to consider an increase in the library budget beginning July 1 for a project that will add on to the building to double the space. The current tax levy for the library is $605,932 and the proposed tax levy is $668,340. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Catskill
P
05/07/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: The proposed $300,585 budget is carrying a 4.73 percent appropriations increase of $13,569; the budget seeks a 9.15 percent increase in the amount received from the school district. This is a separate proposition on the same ballot as the school district budget. 

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Library Name City Type Date
Olean Public Library Olean
P
04/27/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The 2005 budget includes money for the library to open on Sundays starting October 1; the budget increased by $36,925 from last year; the increase will help make up for the $11,000 decrease in aid from the New York Council on the Arts 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Ithaca City School District Ithaca
s
04/21/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The Board of Education voted unanimously to reinstate $20,000 to the district's library book budget. (50 percent of the high school's collection is more than 35 years old.) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Jordan Free Library Syracuse
P
04/20/2004
Negative Impact: The Jordan Free Library's budget has been short for the past four years, with the annual loss increasing to $7,484 in 2003; at the Elbridge Free Library they run about $2,000-3,000 in the red annually; the Jordan libary cuts hours last year; the proposition doesn't pass, then Elbridge will have to cut its hours 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: Libraries are asking residents to approve a 180 percent increase in the money collected through the school district; if approved, funding will increase to $70,000 a year 

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Library Name City Type Date
Tivoli
P
04/13/2004
Negative Impact: In the budget, library funding drops from $7,500 to $7,000 

Positive Impact:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Red Hook Public Library Red Hook
P
04/06/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The library has new oak furniture; a local cabinet maker custom built new circulation desks and reference shelving for the library; furniture was made possible through a $5,000 grant from the Hannaford Charitable Foundation 

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Library Name City Type Date
P
04/02/2004
Negative Impact: The governor has proposed cutting $4.4 million in library aid, and this would send libraries back to funding levels from 1998; the Finger Lakes Library System and Tompkins County Public Library join libraries across the state in asking the state to restore the cut funding and add $9.3 million to the 2004-05 state budget; currently, the library community receives less than one tenth of one percent of the state budget (approx. $89 million); without sustained and increased funding, library services across NY will erode and access to print and electronic resources will be reduced 

Positive Impact:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Mid-Hudson Library System
P
04/01/2004
Negative Impact: New York failed to meet today's deadline for a 2004-05 budget to be adopted; this lateness negatively affects school district's budgets and it's hard to plan for the future; the Mid-Hudson Library System didn't receive its state aid last year until mid-summer--the library almost had to take out a loan to survive; this year, the library is hoping lawmakers will reverse Gov. Pataki's proposed 5% cut; library does not get funding until the budget is passed, and right now it is operating on reserve funds 

Positive Impact:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Borough Public Library Jamaica
P
04/01/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: A City Council budget proposal calls for spending almost $400 million more in education and social services; budget includes $30 million to maintain weekend hours at the Queens library 

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Library Name City Type Date
Steele Memorial Library Elmira
P
03/28/2004
Negative Impact: The library is among the branches that will be stung by deep cuts in library funding by Chemung County in 2005; the county is cutting $500,000 from its overall contribution next year; the library will lose about 50%, or $70,000, from county funding in 2005; the Southside Elmira and Elmira Heights branches closed last August because of lack of funding 

Positive Impact: The Elmira Town Board voted to increase its share of library funding from $35,000 in 2004 to $55,000 in 2005 to help preserve some of the library's vital services 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Valley Library Association
P
03/28/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: The Valley Library Association (Waverly, Sayre, and Athens libraries) is launching a fundraiser called "The Ultimate Spring Makeover" in which the winner of a drawing with get a makeover; ticket sales benefit the three libraries 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
North Tonawanda Public Library North Tonawanda
P
03/28/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Rising retirement and insurance costs have produced a slight increase in the library's budget; if approved, the $1.3 million budget will mean a 3.3% increase in Library District taxes for residents; the cost of operations and repairs for the library remained fairly stable; most the library projects have been completed, so there will be in overall decrease in spending 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Endicott and Johnson City
P
03/27/2004
Negative Impact: Without adequate funding, Endicott's Park Street library will be forced to close by June 2005 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

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Bond Issues & Misc.: Library directors from Endicott and Johnson City are moving ahead with their plan to create a Town of Union taxing district to fund the two struggling municipal libraries; library officials hope to put the special tax district before voters in Union in November 

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Library Name City Type Date
Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego Oswego
a
03/21/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: Library is accepting hardcover and paperback books, videos, CDs, and children's books for its annual sale in April; this is the major fundraiser for the State University College at Oswego library 

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Library Name City Type Date
Monroe County Library Monroe County
P
03/14/2004
Negative Impact: Governor Pataki's proposed budget calls for reducing state aid to libraries across New York; if the plan passes, it could result in less service and fewer books for Monroe County residents; the plan includes a 5% decrease in state, which translates into $108,000; the decrease follows 6 years of no increase in state aid; inter-library loan service is in jeopardy In fall of 2004, a series of hearings before state legislators on the proposed $4.4 million cut in state library aid are being held across New York state. The Monroe County Library System anticipates that, if the $4.4 million isn't restored, there may be cuts to staff and to services. Inter-library delivery of books may have to be cut or eliminated for a few months of the year. And in recent years, the city school library system has been unable to replace defunct computers and has cut or curtailed staff development.  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: Next week, hundreds of librarians across NY are heading to Albany to pressure lawmakers to restore funding 

Fundraising Results: Last year librarians were successful in keeping funding at the same level and not the proposed 15% decrease 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
P
03/11/2004
Negative Impact: Public libraries face a 5%, $4.4 million funding cut to $84.4 million in Governor Pataki's proposed budget; libraries need more sustained aid; a lower court ruling in Jan. 2001 singled out libraries as an area in which NYC schools fail to measure up; with NY under court orderto overhaul its eduation system, libraries are joining the fight for more aid 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Oneida Public Libary Oneida
P
03/10/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The new budget increases spending by 2.6%, to $280,5000 for FY 2004-05; biggest portion of spending plan, $143,000, will go toward salaries and wages for the library's three full-time employees  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters approved a bigger budget for the library 

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Library Name City Type Date
Tompkins County Public Library Ithaca
P
01/05/2004
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Library resumed Sunday hours; patrons are grateful 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
New City Library and West Nyack Free Library New City and West Nyack
P
12/21/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Libraries are undecided about what to do after the defeat of the combined $.8 million budget on 12/10/03 

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Library Name City Type Date
Gloversville Free Library Gloversville
P
12/16/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Received $100,000 grant from Gov. Pataki and Sen. Farley; funds will enable the library to remain open after local funding was not included in the budget adopted by the city 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Amsterdam Free Library Amsterdam
P
12/16/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Sen. Farley providing $50,000 to library 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Johnstown Public Library Johnstown
P
12/16/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Sen. Farley providing $50,000 to library 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library New York
P
12/15/2003
Negative Impact: NYPL had to absorb dramatic cuts in public and private funding; as a result, closed Research Libraries on Mondays, limited hours at branches, left vacant staff positions unfilled, and will purchase fewer books and materials 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: In second phase of ongoing fundraising campaign, NYPL started new advertising program geared toward raising private funds; called "Take Out-Give Back," donors are encouraged to give $17, the average cost of buying a book; initial goal is to raise $18 mill 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Geneva Free Library Geneva
P
12/11/2003
Negative Impact: The Children's Room hours at the library are being reduced to help close a $24,000 spending gap in the budget; library will also eliminate an unfilled PT position in the Children's Room; town of Geneva turned down library's request for more funding, leaving their contribution at $46,200 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Oswego county libraries
P
12/09/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: The Oswego County state legislative delegation announced a commitment of $75,000 in state funding to assist the Oswego County libraries 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
New City Library and West Nyack Free Library New City and West Nyack
P
12/08/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Budgets will go to a public vote (each library has its own budget, but they are voted on as one); voting on 6.64% tax increase proposed for the combined $4.9 million spending plans--budget increases would pay for new materials, increase the AV collections, and provide additional shelving for more books; budget does not include funding for expansion of New City Library, which voters rejected $20 million plan in October 

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Library Name City Type Date
Fulton Public Library Fulton
P
12/08/2003
Negative Impact: Members of the Fulton Common Council reduced library funding by $20,000; impact on the library is unknown; currently there are 10 employees working at the library, with six of them logging at least 35 hours/week; with reduction, some employees may have to be laid off 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Broome County library system
P
12/07/2003
Negative Impact: The current funding structure caused four City of Binghamton branch libraries to close their doors and could close a fifth municipal library within two years; in recent years, the George F. Johnson Memorial library has cut its hours from 61 to 41 hours/week--library is operating on a rapidly dwindling surplus that will be exhausted in two years 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: The municipal libraries in Broome Co. do not want consolidate; same group is split over the current/future funding structure of the 9 municipal libraries; the Endicott and Johnson City libraries will pair with the Town of Union to ask voters to support creating a town taxing district (if accepted, town taxpayers will pay a separate tax for library use) 

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Borough Public Library Queens
P
12/05/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results: Library received $2 million gift from the Wallace Foundation as part of the city's Emergency Campaign 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn
P
12/05/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results: Library received $2 million gift from the Wallace Foundation as part of the city's Emergency Campaign 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
New York Public Library New York
P
12/05/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results: Library received $2 million gift from the Wallace Foundation as part of the city's Emergency Campaign 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Yonkers
P
11/29/2003
Negative Impact: Yonkers Board of Education temporarily puts off laying off 502 jobs due to budget cuts, including 28 librarians; hope to find $5 million to make up the shortfall before 12/5 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
All public libraries
P
11/16/2003
Negative Impact: Public library use is up 20% across the state, but government budget deficits threaten funding cuts; this year's budget set aside $89 million for all NY libraries, but that is about the same amount as 10 years ago; costs rising and state aid flat, most of the burden falls on local taxpayers; more than 400 libraries don't have the funds to provide even basic services; more than 1 million New Yorkers have no local library at all 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Millerton Library North East
P
11/13/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Newly renovated library slated to received $27,700 in the preliminary budget--a 20.7% increase in funding 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Liverpool Public Library Liverpool
P
11/13/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: After voters defeated budget last April, created "Concerned Citizens" group as part of the "Friends of…" to examine the budget and create a plan for getting support from community for next year's budget 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Lewiston Public Library Lewiston
P
11/06/2003
Negative Impact: Library funding cut; proposed $300,000 allocation leaves the library underfunded and facing a deficit of $30,000; hours have been cut from 57 to 50 hrs/week 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Rhinebeck Public Library Rhinebeck
P
11/05/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Hours will expand next year from 36 to 48 hours/week 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters approved giving library $160,000 from the town next year 

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Library Name City Type Date
LaGrange Public Library LaGrange
P
11/05/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters defeated a plan to increase funding from the town by $199,160 to $544,315 annually, to enable the purchase of new computers and other technology 

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Library Name City Type Date
Stillwater Free Library Stillwater
P
11/01/2003
Negative Impact: May have to close doors due to funding problems; state mandates that libraries serving pop. 7,500+ to operate at least 35 hours/wk so that the library has added an additional PT to accommodate new schedule; need more funding than the $34,000/year to cover operating expenses 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: If town does not pass proposed budget increases, the library will have to close in a few years 

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Library Name City Type Date
Forbes Library Northampton
P
11/01/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results: Library has exceed its $500,000 campaign goal to raise money for the redesign and renovation of the library; the AEC Trust of Atlanta, GA donated $30,000 which brought total pledges and gifts to $579,505 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Patchogue
P
10/30/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters reject $35 million bond issue and plans for a new library 

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Library Name City Type Date
Niagra Falls
P
10/28/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Residents expressing concerns about proposed $1.76 million library budget because it's about $165,000 less than the library staff says it needs to avoid layoffs and close departments; worried that budget plan could threaten library's ability to get state aid; residents are threatening to vote out a mayor that does not support libraries 

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Library Name City Type Date
Tompkins County Public Library Ithaca
P
10/28/2003
Negative Impact: 2004 budgets cuts: $183,028 from Tompkins County Public Library and $10,000 from rural libraries 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Northern Onondaga Public Library North Syracuse
P
10/23/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters approve library budget increase 

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Library Name City Type Date
Horseheads Free Library Elmira
P
10/22/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results: Kiwanis give to library 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Hiram Halle Memorial Library Pound Ridge
P
10/19/2003
Negative Impact: Hard to come up with annual $330,000 budget: 1/3 from town board, 1/3 from private donations, and 1/3 from endowment 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Library won new status that allows it to put its budget directly on the ballot as a separate line item to gain approval for money directly from the voters (Special District Library); average Pound Ridge household stands to pay $167/year to keep library solvent 

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Library Name City Type Date
The Northern Onondaga Public Library North Syracuse
P
10/16/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: $1.17 million Budget passed 

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Library Name City Type Date
PS80 Library New York
S
10/09/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: PTA to fundraise 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Northern Onondaga Public Library North Syracuse
P
10/02/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Requesting 3% increase in budget to be spread over three libraries; rising costs of books, periodicals, and utilities 

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Library Name City Type Date
Hiram Halle Memorial Library Pound Ridge
P
10/02/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Vote approved a $367,880 budget for 2004 (Revenue from library tax will pay for $342,840 of budget and $25,040 will come from library book sale); library became municipal library run by town which assures financial future 

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Library Name City Type Date
Spencer Library Spencer
P
10/01/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: Fundraising efforts continue 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Southeast Steuben County Library Corning
10/01/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: "Friends of" fundraise to underwrite library purchases, such as books and shelving 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Southworth Library Dryden
P
09/27/2003
Negative Impact: Four rural libraries in county prepare to face funding cutbacks; still recovering from pervious years' budget cuts; may have to reduce staff and cut back on capital purchases 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Mount Vernon Public Library Mount Vernon (Westchester County)
P
09/26/2003
Negative Impact: Maintenance needs continually unmet so that library is in such bad shape that the staff has to cover expenses 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Copiague Memorial Public Library Copiague
P
09/21/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Wins grant for literacy sponsored by Reading is Fundamental and Coca-Cola; grant will help provide access to the library and run programs that support child literacy, weekly summer reading clubs, and literacy workshops 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Libraries in Buffalo and Erie County Library System
P
09/19/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Libraries' budget plan raises spending by 3%; library services and hours maintained; planning to build new library 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
P
09/18/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: $1,244,476 of $3,060,958 budget will go toward bonding and pre-construction of new library 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Library's proposition to build new library turned down by voters; want taxpayers to pay for library's 1st bond payment for new library 

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Library Name City Type Date
LaGrange Association Library Poughkeepsie
P
09/15/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Library funding to appear on ballot to try and increase taxpayer funding with increased library tax levy; funding increase would allow expanded hours of library 

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Library Name City Type Date
Chemung County Libraries (Elmira Heights Library, Horseheads Free Library, and Steele Memorial Library) Chemung Co.
P
09/13/2003
Negative Impact: $500,000 reduction in funding by Chemung County; 20% loss of all library staff; deductions in book buying budget; Task Force on Libraries to plan a $500,000 reduction in public library funding 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
East Greenbush Community Library East Greenbush
P
09/09/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Add librarian and support hours; purchase more books, AV materials to meet growing demand; send out newsletters, flyers, and brochures 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: 2004 budget of $1,218,206 was approved by voters; library begins to make plans 

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Library Name City Type Date
Gates Public Library Rochester
P
09/04/2003
Negative Impact: Plan to close public library on Saturdays during June, July, and August; $9,814 to preserve the library's Saturday hours 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: Friends of the Gates Public Library need to raise $5,636 necessary to keep the library open 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Borough Public Library Queens
P
09/03/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Using $500,000 in city funds to expand the Corona branch; using $4 million restoration of funds to increase library hours 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
The Starr Library Rhinebeck
P
09/02/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Hopes to get directly to taxpayers for funding next year; if approved, the funding would be collected as town taxes; library gets funding through town budget ($78,000) and fundraising and endowments; near the end of $2.2 million fundraising campaign 

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Library Name City Type Date
Lansing Community Library Center Lansing (part of Tompkins Co.)
P
08/29/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: "Friends of…" holding annual "Twilight Magic" fundraising bash 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Southside Library (in Steele Memorial Library System) Elmira
P
08/29/2003
Negative Impact: Library closed because of funding cuts 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Queens Borough Public Library New York
P
08/28/2003
Negative Impact: Have reduced hours since FY2002; $10 million budget reductions (highest circulation of any public library) 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Elmira Heights Library (branch of Steele Memorial Library) Elmira Heights
P
08/27/2003
Negative Impact: This Library closed as a result of budget cuts; the 25,000 collection will be sold or moved to the bookmobile or other branches in Steele Memorial Library system 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
East Greenbush Community Library East Greenbush
P
08/27/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Use of the facility increased; new budget will add staff and computer technology support for library's 46 computers 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Staatsburg Library District Staastburg
P
08/26/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.: Voters asked to increase library tax by 11%; Board of Trustees has adopted a 2004 budget of $83,200, an increase over this year's $70,700 budget 

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Library Name City Type Date
Clifton Park
P
08/13/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact: Clifton Park proposed $13 million new library facility 

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Lewiston Public Library Lewiston
P
08/10/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities: "Friends of" hold annual fundraiser 

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Hammondsport Public Library Hammondsport
P
07/31/2003
Negative Impact:  

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results: Received $500,000 donation by the Fred and Harriet Taylor Foundation for library construction (library will be named after them) 

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Tompkins County Public Library Ithaca
P
07/28/2003
Negative Impact: Library will be closed on Saturdays in August; 2003 operating budget is about $2.6 million and 70% of budget comes from county funding, which is down 2.6% 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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Library Name City Type Date
Cornell University libraries Ithaca
A
Negative Impact: Plans to cut approx. 200 journal titles in 2004 

Positive Impact:  

Potential Fundraising Activities:  

Fundraising Results:  

Bond Issues & Misc.:  

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