NEWS10 Special Report: Junk Mailers - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

NEWS10 Special Report: Junk Mailers

Posted: Updated: May 09, 2014 01:55 PM

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. -- One local institution is sending out mountains of expensive junk mail, all paid for by tax dollars.

Mailboxes can become packed with junk mail as companies try to promote their business. However, many people find those items to be garbage, and don’t give them a second glance.

Guilderland resident Pat Keane says she received newsletters and postcards from the Guilderland Public Library, and includes them in her pile of junk mail.

“Yeah, we get them. We get them in my name, and I live with my daughter’s family. We get them in my daughter’s name, you know it's ridiculous,” said Keane.

She says that most of the time, the letters go straight into the garbage.

The same letter goes out to about 18,000 households in Guilderland and many residents have the same reaction as Keane.

“They’re just garbage usually,” said Guilderland resident Joleen McCullogh

Richard Egleston, another resident, says he will look at the headlines but doesn’t find a reason to keep it, so it gets thrown away.

Meanwhile, Guilderland Library Director Tim Wiles believes there are plenty of items in the letters that are worth reading.

“We believe these are quality events we are putting forth for the public and we want them to know about these events,” said Wiles.

However, like every other public institution, Wiles said they are trying to balance the books with a $3.5 million budget. It costs a little less than $14,000 dollars of the budget to go towards printing, mail house service, and postage for the letters. All of the money that is spent on the letters comes from taxpayer’s wallets.

“Couldn’t they do something else with the $14,000?” said Keane.

Wiles said that the library is currently working to reduce the expense, saying he understands the concern residents would have.

“You're hearing about having to close schools in the area, and all kinds of things going on. $14,000 just going out in flyers just is a lot of money,” said McCullogh.

Although some may wonder why the library will not streamline the letters and postcards to social media postings and through email, Wiles explained that it isn’t that simple. Wiles said that to maintain a database of 18,000 households would cost the library too much to staff people and determine who wants snail mail and who wants email.

After NEWS10 ABC brought taxpayer concerns to light, the library has said they are now looking at more ways to save money. They will start publishing their post cards in a community publication beginning this summer.

But Wiles said they are not ready to stop all of the newsletters completely.

“That’s going to leave a whole lot of people out who don't check those things,” he said.

Residents say they are happy that Wiles is taking a step in the right direction.

“They do have to get their news out on some ways. I applaud them doing it this way,” said Egleston.

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