20 November 2004

Scary stuff

From the website for the Libraries of Buffalo & Erie County:

The proposed $19 million cut represents an 80% reduction from the $24 million in library property tax received from Erie County in 2004. The loss of these local funds triggers a reduction of an additional $2.8 million in State Library Aid as well as the loss of other library operating revenue. All 52 libraries across Erie County WILL CLOSE!

Holy crap.

I don't know how serious library officials there are about actually closing all the libraries or how long they think they'll remain closed for. I do know that I think this is a brilliant (though terrifying) idea (If, indeed, it will be done as a temporary measure). So many times, we don't realize what we have until it is gone. I can think of no more powerful way to hammer home the importance of public libraries than to make patrons imagine a day (or week) without them.

It will be interesting to see if this plea for appropriate Library funding will be heeded or if the Erie County legislature will call the bluff and libraries will close. Stayed tuned...

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