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State cuts library aid & NYLA reacts


It’s for sure, state funding for public libraries is down, but at least one cost-saving new initiative seems to have withstood the ax, says the New York State Library Association.

The trade association has reviewed the 2010 Legislative Session in Albany and offers its take on the good and the bad.

The bad news, says NYLA “is that the $2.4 million in Library Aid cuts were approved, which will reduce Library Aid to $84.4 million or below 1998 levels. In addition, School Aid was reduced by approximately $1.4 billion.”

The good news, the group says, is that a “priority” bill was approved by the legislature and awaiting signature by Gov. Patterson. The bill would allow libraries ” to engage in cooperative bidding (instead of going out to bid individually for products and services.” Other measures to allow libraries to share internet services with BOCES, which would have extended some grant sources, did not make it through all the committees, but could be discussed in future legislative sessions.

Libraries in our region are faced with a two-prong dilemma.  Use is up at all libraries with more people walking in through the doors, using computers, borrowing resources and making inquiries of reference staff.  As a counter-punch, though, funding is down and libraries have been forced to cut back hours, staff and programs.

In Mount Vernon, as reported by my colleague Ernie Garcia on July 3, the Mount Vernon Public Library  faced a serious budget crisis and announced it had to lay off more than half its staff, 14 workers, and reassign some others.

(In an update today, the city of Mount Vernon announced that it will send in $250,000 to help resolve the library’s budget woes.)

The Yonkers Public Library slashed some hours and other libraries have been forced to close on Sundays and curtail some services.  Do more with less, is the adage, these days — and it is no different for libraries, except that many had operated on a sort of shoestring budget already.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 at 1:22 pm by Barbara Nackman. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Mt. Vernon Public Library, New York Library Association
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About this blog
Four longtime Journal News reporters share their insights about fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short stories by bringing books discussions online and exploring the local literati scene. Lots of people say they are booklovers, but Elizabeth Ganga, Barbara Livingston Nackman, Ken Valenti and Randi Weiner really are!

What they blog about
Book Notes: An ongoing chat about events, authors and news items about books, libraries, authors and everything literary from metro news reporters Barbara Livingston Nackman and Elizabeth Ganga. Barbara has been a reporter for The Journal News since 1997. She covers municipalities in Putnam County and keeps track of book events everywhere - and began her career writing about books and libraries. Lisa has been a reporter for The Journal News since 2000, after working at several newspapers in Connecticut. She has covered cities and town in sourthern and northern Westchester and is a big Jane Austen fan (though she reads everything from history to mysteries). Both reporters work out of the Mount Kisco bureau and frequently trade tidbits about books and events.

Novel Pursuits: Ken Valenti sheds light on his ongoing experiences as a novelist and poet. He talks about his trials and tribulations including musings about projects, readings, successes, and even insights into what he is reading and finds interesting. A reporter for The Journal News and its forerunners for more than 20 years, Ken now covers transportation. His first love has been writing fiction, but he's only begun pursuing that dream in recent years. He has been a reader and fiction editor for the journal Inkwell, and has published one short story in another fiction journal.

Seasoned Works: Randi Weiner dishes up an ongoing discussion about all books - old and savory. Though Randi keeps readers abreast of school issues most days and reads lots of children's and young adult books, current science fiction and murder mysteries, her overriding passion is older works generally written before 1940. She chats online about favorites and newly discovered treasures as well as book exhibits and talks related to the dusty, the musty and the marvelous illustrators of the past. She has been a reporter since 1976, with Gannett since 1989. And for the record, she says she has a personal library of more than 4,000 volumes.

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