"We just want to give a big, big thank you to Catharine Young, from all of us," is what Tina Scott, James Prendergast Library director, had to say about money the state senator procured for area libraries.
On Friday, Young, R-C-I Olean, announced every library in her district will be receiving an additional $6,800 in funding she was able to secure during this year's legislative session.
"Today's libraries are home to after-school programs for children, host informative public events and educational presentations and provide Internet access and valuable resources to job seekers," Young stated in a news release. "They are such an important part of our communities and serve a critical role in providing people with the resources to further their education, search for a job and provide their children with a safe environment to expand their learning. Budget constraints often limit the ability of libraries to provide the services people have come to rely on, which is why this additional funding is so important."
Scott, who was the acting director of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System that has 36 member libraries in the two counties, said all libraries, whether small or large, will benefit from the additional money.
"It will really help the smaller libraries. The ones that have smaller budgets, and are only open a limited number of hours," Scott said. "Those ones are doing what they can to stay open as long as possible for the public, but then that hurts their materials budget."
Scott said because the money is not restrictive, meaning it doesn't have to be allocated toward a specific purpose, library officials will be able to choose how to use the money.
"They can use the money to seed a project or save it for that inevitable leaky roof," she said. "It isn't restrictive so they can use it for their greatest need."
Even for a larger library like the James Prendergast, Scott said the money will help balance the budget.
"We will talk to the library board about how they want to use it," she said. "We did receive a construction grant toward ADA-accessible toilets, and to clear out a storage area to make a family area for projects on our second floor. Possibly the money can be used there."