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Help write YOUR library’s NEXT CHAPTER...

Ten times more people visit New York State’s public libraries each year than attend New York State’s professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey games.Libraries: How They Stack Up OCLC 2003.

2004
The busiest, most productive year in the B&ECPL’s 170-year history.

  • Circulation was a record-breaking 9.2 million items — up over 3.4% from 2003
  • Deliveries of library materials among all 52 locations rose 12% over 2003
  • Computer use soared more than 20% over 2003
  • Website traffic increased 10.4%

Two-thirds of adult Americans visited their public library last year (approximately 135 million)

More than 8 of 10 (85%) believe public libraries deserve more funding

More than half (52%) believe support for public libraries should be $41 per capita in local tax support. (The national average is around $25; Erie County’s property tax provides less than $23 per capita in 2006. Less than the average retail cost of one hardcover book!)

Two-thirds of Americans put the benefits of libraries at the top of the list of public services as compared to schools, roads and parks.

National, random sample telephone survey of 1,003 American adults conducted by KRC Research and Consulting in 2006

2005
Erie County faced a staggering financial crisis that…

  • reduced local taxpayer support by $7 million
  • forced the closing of 15 libraries
  • reduced hours of service at almost every remaining location
  • took bookmobiles off the road for the first time since 1947
  • decreased the number of new titles added to the collection by a third compared to 2004
  • cost more than 225 full and part-time Library employees their jobs

2006
Resources are not adequate to meet the needs of the community. . .

  • fewer staff to conduct programs, answer reference questions, visit schools, etc.
  • too few new titles to satisfy the demand of library users
  • insufficient County funds for 12 local libraries to meet New York State minimum standards
  • some libraries open as little as 18 hours per week
  • public programs eliminated from some locations

Erie County’s libraries cannot meet the needs of County taxpayers in 2006
and beyond with the same level of local funding they received 10 years ago!

For every $ 1 received, the B&ECPL returns at least $ 6.07 in services!

12 public libraries in Erie County did not receive sufficient B&ECPL System
funding in 2006 to meet New York State minimum standards. Any library that
fails to meet those standards may apply for a one-time waiver from the
State, but if the library fails to return to minimum standards, it can lose
its registration and charter. When that happens, it can no longer call
itself a library and is no longer eligible to receive public funds of any kind.

5 Things Community Leaders Should Know About Libraries and the Public*

1. Libraries Are Highly Valued
Nearly half the public gave libraries an “A” - higher than public schools,
the police and the local news media. More than 6 in 10 strongly agree that
public libraries are essential for “maintaining a productive community.”

2. Libraries Are Important 21st Century Resources
Almost two-thirds of Americans say that having enough computers and online
services should be a high priority for libraries.

3. Voters Love Libraries
Nearly three-quarters have a local library card.

4. Libraries Use Tax Funds Wisely
Even among non-users, 6 in 10 say they believe libraries use their funds
wisely.

5. The Public Welcomes a Greater Role for Libraries in These 4 Areas:

  • A safe and engaging place for teens
  • Literacy skills for a strong workforce
  • Center for community information
  • Greater access to technology

* From a new public opinion research study, “Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at
Public and Leadership Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century,”
published by Public Agenda June 2006.

In a recent online survey of B&ECPL patrons...
85% of survey participants believe the Library deserves a restoration of
some Erie County property tax funding ­ from as modest an increase as $5
more per year to as much as $25 (or more) per year, based on the average
property tax assessed on a $100,000 dwelling.

Of all those who believe restorations are in order, 68% (57.6% of total
respondents) believe the increase should be at least $25 more per year.