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Libraries fight for funding in state budget

Library state funding fight

It's the next chapter in the state budget battle -- the fight over funding for libraries.

The latest budget includes flat funding for local libraries.

"It's been status quo for the last couple of years," said Patricia Uttaro, Director of Monroe County Library Systems and the Rochester Library.

Now the push is on for more money. Funding critical to local programs says Uttaro.

"Every year we have to fight that battle and it is good exercise to keep in touch with our local delegation and bring them into the library so they can see what the money is being used for," she said.

Library funding is actually mandated under state law, but for the last 10 years or so libraries across the state have been shortchanged.

Under the law Uttaro says close to $103 million should be set aside for libraries, but the budget calls for just shy of $92 million. In Rochester the funding pays for literacy & early learning programs. Other libraries use the money for renovations and upgrading technology and computers.

"We found about 68% of people who use computers in the libraries only have access to computers and internet at the library," said Uttaro.

Uttaro says while they're up for the funding fight -- library users that can make the biggest difference.

"All of our librarians and trustees can go to our delegation and to the governor and send letters and emails, but they really pay attention when those things come from the people who actually use the services," she said.

If you'd like to contact your representative about library funding click here for the online form setup by the New York Library Association.

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