This was posted on Erie County's list July 7. What a shame.
Niagara Falls Public Library Faces Imminent Closure
Following the defeat of a public referendum that would have allowed it
survive a million-dollar cut the city made to its budget last December,
Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Public Library and its LaSalle branch could close
their doors permanently on August 1. The financially strapped city said
last year that it could only afford about half of the $2.1 million that
library officials needed for operating costs in 2005. Residents then
rejected by only 480 votes a June 21 referendum that would have created
new district to fund library operations through property taxes instead
the city coffers, the June 22 Niagara Gazette reported.
Although city funding ran out at the end of June, NFPL Executive
Betty Babanoury told American Libraries that Mayor Vince Anello came up
with enough to keep the library open through July. But if nothing is
to fund it for the rest of the year, 45 full- and part-time employees
lose their jobs and Niagara Falls will lose its library. To prepare for
that possibility, the board appointed at the beginning of June a
coordinator," former Canisius College Library Director George Telatnik,
confessed to Babanoury that this was "the worst possible job he'd ever
"We really don't know anything about closing a library," Babanoury told
"but we have been in touch with David Palmquist, head of the New York
Chartering Office, and he has located a storage facility in Rotterdam,
York, on a military base where we could move our local history
intact." The collection acquired many valuable and irreplaceable items
2000 when the Niagara Falls Historical Society dissolved.
Meanwhile, NFPL trustees filed a lawsuit against the city in state
June 30, contending that city council had actually agreed to transfer
full $2.1 million the library requested and never lowered the dollar
amount, Babanoury explained.
Library officials have scheduled a meeting with councilors July 12 to
over the budget again. "Both the council and Mayor Anello would like
library to stay open," Babanoury said. One contingency plan proposed by
Council Chairman Charles Walker is to use $1.4 million of the income
the Seneca Niagara Casino for the main library, while the city budget
fund the LaSalle branch.
Babanoury emphasized that if the library closes, it would be
"But that decision has to go before the citizens of Niagara Falls as a
because the library is in the city charter," she added. "And I haven't
across anyone in the past six months who wants the library to close.
been around a long time, since 1895."
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