Libraries Disappointed by Partial Restoration of Aid

Library Use Up, State Aid Continues to Fall

ALBANY, NY (03/30/2009)(readMedia)-- The New York Library Association learned today that state aid to libraries will be reduced by a further $8 million or 9% , which is on top of the $3 million or 3% cut imposed last year. Funding for libraries will be reduced to $91 million or 2005 levels.

"The library community is extremely disappointed that funding was not completely restored, since other programs within the Education Budget did get full restoration and more," said Kevin Verbesey, NYLA Legislative Committee Chair and Director of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.

"There seems to be no recognition by state policymakers of all we are doing to help their constituents weather this economic downturn," continued Mr. Verbesey.

"Library usage is up by double digit numbers and yet state aid continues to be cut. There appears to be a disconnect somewhere in the state budget process," stated Josh Cohen, NYLA President and Director of the Mid- Hudson Library System in Poughkeepsie.

"Our members are very frustrated by the turn of events. It makes absolutely no sense to cut funding for services that are in the greatest demand and can do the most good for New Yorkers looking for jobs, accessing public assistance or saving on the family budget by using the free services available at the library," said Michael J. Borges, NYLA Executive Director.

"There will be negative ramifications for legislator's constituents as libraries will be forced to cut back on staff and hours of operation, and reduce services just when they are needed most," concluded Mr. Borges.