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Local libraries to lose state aid

FFL sees increase in OCPL system chargebacks

Schools aren't the only ones looking at massive cuts proposed by the New York State Budget. Local libraries are bracing for a proposed 18 percent cut in state library aid. If the budget passes, library aid levels will be at a 15-year low.

The Fayetteville Free Library receives less than $2,500 a year directly from the state, which is an extremely small portion of its funding, said Sue Considine, library director.

"The cut is a problem at the system level," said Library Director Sue Considine, referring to the Onondaga Countywide network of which the FFL is a member. The library receives services through the Onondaga County Public Library system such as delivery, interlibrary loan (ILL) and shared catalog (an online database the public can access at home or at any library).

"All of our libraries are seeing a big boom in business," she said, which means as usage goes up, so does the cost for doing business. "We at the local level are charged back by the system to participate with the catalog, delivery, etc. The cut will compromise the system's ability to provide the current level of services to its members and ultimately the costs will trickle down to the local library as the system looks to make up the gap."

Due to the increased need for library services, the New York Board of Regents approved 55 library charters this year. Four new public library districts were formed and 318,588 formerly unserved New Yorkers now have a local public library.

"Libraries continue to be targeted for disproportionate cuts to solve the state's budget problems," said Michael J. Borges, executive director of the New York Library Association. "We are willing to do our part, but an 18 percent cut in funding is both unfair and counter-productive."

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