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Libraries make pitch for more support from county

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – The four public libraries in Orleans County are seeking a $1 contribution in the county budget for each resident in the county. That would total $42,883.

Currently, libraries are in the 2013 budget for $10,087. County officials are working on the 2014 spending plan, which should be presented next month.

Libraries could use more money to keep up with the costs of providing computer access, programs, books, magazines and other information for residents, said Susan Rudnicky, director of the Hoag Library in Albion.

She addressed the County Legislature on Wednesday. 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.

Rudnicky said about 40 percent of county households do not have Internet access. Many of the residents in those homes rely on library computers to check email, fill out job applications and for research.

Libraries have experienced a growth in circulation and visits from the public in recent years, following renovations and technology upgrades, Rudnicky said. Medina’s library is currently closed while undergoing a major remodeling. It is expected to reopen on Nov. 1, Catherine Cooper, library director, told legislators.