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Our library services rely on the public’s aid

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The Lowville Free Library, like other local libraries, continues to thrive. Despite rumors that print is passť, more people than ever are accessing public libraries. For one thing, libraries have worked hard to keep up with changing technology. Computer classes remain full, and the computers made available to the public seldom sit idle. While browsing bookshelves is still a pleasurable pastime for many, patrons can choose to access library resources, order e-books and audio books, do research and take courses from their home and office computers.

In addition, the North Country Library System maintains an excellent website, ncls.northcountrylibraries.org/, providing a direct link to books, resources and instructional opportunities. Individual libraries also offer current postings of upcoming events, schedules and special resources, all available to the public. Everyone is encouraged to check out the Lowville Free Library’s website at www.lowvillefreelibrary.org or “Like It” on Facebook to see all the special events planned for National Library Week, April 15–20.

At the Lowville Free Library, trustees are working hard to save money, so that the rising costs of materials and resources can be met and excellent programming can continue. For example, with the switch to LED fluorescent lighting earlier this month, electricity use and cost will be greatly reduced. A recent Building Up-Keep Campaign, along with volunteer help, made this much-needed upgrade to the 1927 building come to fruition.

Careful budgeting, regular donations, generous memorials and inventive grant writing all help to maintain dynamic and relevant library programs for the community. It is still necessary, however, to call upon the public, through local and state government, to support libraries.

Fortunately, 10 libraries in Lewis County received a sum of $27,842 from the Lewis County 2013 budget. This amount is the actual cost to access Information Technology (IT). IT includes computers, the automated circulation system, patron database, security and productivity software, research databases, downloadable audio and e-books, Internet access and Wi-Fi connection — all essential materials and services received through NCLS. The county’s granting of this request for IT services funding positively affects a broad base of our population, from young children to senior citizens, and goes a long way to advancing our community’s technology know-how. This, in addition to yearly amounts received from village and town governments, is greatly appreciated.

At the state level, however, aid for libraries has fallen drastically in the last five years. This year, the governor’s budget is calling for the same level of funding as in 1997 — that’s 16 years ago!

Patricia Burke

Lowville

The writer is president of the Lowville Free Library Board of Trustees.

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