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Library funding is focus of Library Advocacy Day

The library lobby is heading to Albany today to ask lawmakers to restore funding that has been lost for five years now.

Central New York Library Resources Council Executive Director Debbie Emerson says the state budget is keeping funding for libraries at least the same as last year, which is still down 20 percent since 2007. But she says libraries do more now for the community than ever before. For example, in some communities they provide the only free Internet access, which can be key for anyone looking for a job.

"Most jobs now, even at McDonald's or Wal-Mart, they're required to fill out applications on line," Emerson said. "Obviously they can't do that if they don't have access to the Internet at home. So they're going to the library, partly for Internet access and partly so they can ask the professional staff at the library for assistance."

Emerson says she hopes that the economic development component is not lost on lawmakers.  She says librarians from across the state will also tell lawmakers the number of people using libraries now has gone up tremendously in recent years.

Every year in New York state, the first Tuesday of March is library advocacy day.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.