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Librarians lobby state officials for increased funding

Mar 03, 2016 7:30 am

Roger Hannigan Gilson reported in the Register-Star local librarians traveled to Albany Wed., Mar. 2, to campaign for additional state funds on National Library Legislative Day. Librarians met with state legislators, requesting "full formula funding" or additional state aid equal to state education aid increases. The Mid-Hudson Library System’s Library Sustainability Coordinator Rebekkah Smith Aldrich said Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive budget includes no increases for libraries, leaving state funding at 1997 levels. Hudson Area Library Director Emily Chameides was among the group that visited the Capitol Wednesday. She said the day went well as she met with Assembly member Didi Barrett, and a representative of state Sen. Kathy Marchione. Claverack Library Director Thea Schoep, also traveled to Albany, said many patrons come to her library to access the Internet, pointing out that Columbia County is the second-worst county in New York for high-speed service. A January 2015 Siena Poll cited by the New York Library Association found library usage is up 10 percent statewide, with usage up 20 percent for households earning less than $50,000 annually. Chameides said with the number of people patronizing libraries increasing in recent years state funding to libraries is critical. Read the full story in the Register-Star. NOTE: Chameides is a WGXC programmer.