Lawmakers approve library funding

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Libraries across the state that are struggling to get people in the door are about to get a big boost from the state.

“Our libraries are a tremendous asset to New York State,” Assemblyman Robert Smullen said.

Smullen calls libraries the “public portal” to “access the world’s knowledge.”

“I think it’s crucial that all members of this committee and all members of the state assembly be committed to the goal of protecting funding for our state libraries,” he said despite an estimated $6 billion state budget gap.

The New York State Department of Education is asking for libraries to receive $102.6 million, or $6 million more, next year. This year, $34 million also went to a library construction grant program.

“The Board of Regents also recommends increasing the state aid for library construction capital funding to $45 million in the upcoming budget year,” NYS Librarian Lauren Moore said.

Librarians say nowadays libraries are about more than books.

“Libraries aren’t just providing internet access,” Moore said. “They’re also providing digital literary instruction; they are making sure that people know how to use the information they find online.”

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