Rewriting the book on library funding


A special commission here in NY is calling for a rethinking of the way libraries across the state are paid for. New York should contribute far more state funds to local libraries and base the allocation on need, according to the Regents Commission on Library Services, which for the last 18 months has been looking at ways of improving the state\'s vast library system. Read the story at The Times Union, Albany.

That would be in contrast to the current system in which libraries are funded through a patchwork of local entities that includes cities and counties and special taxing districts. This catch-as-catch-can system has led to striking inequalities, similar to those found in the public schools.

\"Statistics show that the communities that would benefit most from improved levels of library service are often the least able to fund them through local tax revenues,\'\' concludes the commission\'s preliminary report, released last month.

The report also includes several proposals that have surfaced earlier, including a $90 million, five-year plan to renovate library buildings and move to cyberspace with an Internet search engine that would allow quick access to the state\'s voluminous storehouse of research papers, journals and other information.