SITUATION: The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library faces a $6.8 million shortfall for 2011 if the budget proposed by County Executive Chris Collins stands. Library hours will be reduced from 332 to 205.
COST: Buffalo/Erie County library services cost $28.64 per capita while comparably sized cities pay $43 and up per capita.
VALUE: If you borrow just 2 books and 10 movies a month rather than buy these items, you save $74 in a month and close to $900 in a year.
INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF LIBRARIES: In tough economic times, especially with high unemployment, people need libraries: --Circulation of library materials continues to trend at over 6 million items per year. --People depend so much on the libraries’ Internet connection that many people drive to closed libraries, sit in their cars and connect on laptops through the libraries’ wifi. --Bookstores and high speed Internet are not available in some of the small communities B&ECPL serves so these residents rely on the reading material and high-speed Internet that their local libraries provide. --Economically challenged households in Buffalo and across Erie County can’t support the purchase of books, CDs or DVDs, let alone have a computer with Internet access.
LIBRARY USE INCREASE: Computer usage in Buffalo & Erie County Libraries has always been high but it has increased 25% since 2008—the beginning of the economic downturn.
QUALITY OF LIFE: Libraries uniquely contribute to the community's cultural and economic quality of life by:
--Providing equal access to information resources
--Promoting literacy and education for children and adults
--Development of programs and services for enriching life skills.
ACTION: We demand Erie County Legislators reject County Executive Chris Collins' 2011 budget and fully fund the Library System to maintain services and staff.
Library Supporters and Friends