Libraries ask county for funding boost

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 October 2017 at 5:20 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Betty Sue Miller, director of Hoag Library in Albion, asked members of the Orleans County Legislature to give the four public libraries a boost in funding in 2018.

ALBION – It’s budget season for the Orleans County Legislature and agencies in the community have made their requests for funding.

Representatives from the four public libraries attended last week’s County Legislature meeting and pressed the group for a funding increase.

Ideally, the libraries would like $1 per person in aid from the county, said Betty Sue Miller, director of Hoag Library in Albion.

If the libraries received $1 per person that would be $42,883. The libraries receive about a quarter of that amount from the county.

The libraries in Albion (Hoag Library), Holley (Community Free Library), Lyndonville (Yates Community Library) and Medina (Lee-Whedon Memorial Library) share $10,087 from the county. The $10,087 has been the libraries’ funding level from the county since 2011.

Directors from the four libraries last week asked county legislators for a funding boost. Libraries could use more money to keep up with the costs of providing computer access, programs, books, magazines and other information for residents, the directors said.

“Please consider at least your (current) level of commitment, and any little increase would certainly be appreciated,” Miller told the group.

In addition to books, magazines and other reading resources, the libraries provide concerts, family activities, historical programs, meeting space and other programs.

The county was giving $29,914 to be shared among the four libraries as recently as 2002, but that dropped to $7,480 in 2003. Since then, the amount was raised to $12,587 in 2007, $13,617 in 2010, and then was cut to $10,087 in 2011. It hasn’t changed since then.

“When other governments cut, the libraries are the first to feel it,” Miller said. “All I’m asking is you continue to remember us.”

Representatives from the Cobblestone Museum addressed the Legislature last month and asked for $7,500 in support. The museum hasn’t had a line item in the budget for several years, although the Legislature approved $3,000 in 2017 for the museum at the county’s end-of-the-year meeting.

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