Assemblyman Christopher Friend meets with representatives from the Southern Tier Library System.
“This is a great group of people advocating for an important cause,” said Friend. “The services that local libraries and the library system provide to taxpayers are tremendous. Libraries hold classes, provide access to the Internet, and offer families ways to save money.”
The governor’s budget cuts will cut libraries at a higher rate than both schools and municipalities. The proposed ten percent cut will result in funding being reduced to 1994 levels, despite an increase in usage across the state. In these tough economic times, many job seekers have turned to libraries for a leg up by taking resume writing courses or computer training classes that libraries offer. Others rely on libraries as an Internet hub to search for jobs and submit applications. This is all on top of the services they provide to our local institutions of learning, the thousands of books they offer for borrowing, and the cultural events they host.
“The role of libraries is much more varied and critical than people may first think,” said Friend. “It has always been clear to me that libraries play an integral role in our communities and our society, but their importance is growing. Although I do believe cuts need to be made in spending, libraries are the wrong target. Library aid makes up less than one-tenth of one percent of the state budget. We should be looking elsewhere to make more significant and less damaging cuts.”
The Southern Tier Library System provides resources and services to 48 local libraries in five counties, including Schuyler and Chemung. The system provides information and cost-sharing opportunities for libraries. These types of systems will be most drastically affected by budget cuts.