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Slater Stands Up for Libraries at Budget Hearing on Elementary and Secondary Education

Assemblyman Matt Slater (R,C-Yorktown) recently spoke at a budget hearing on elementary and secondary education about Governor Hochul’s proposed cut $3.5 million in Library Aid and an additional $20 million in Library Construction grants.

“A vast majority of New York’s libraries are outdated and need to modernize in order to continue to be the academic and cultural community hubs,” said Slater. “As a local Town Supervisor, I helped our local library take important steps to modernize their facility to better accommodate today’s needs. As a father of two children, and ranker on the Committee on Libraries & Education Technology, I find it appalling that funding is not just being denied but taken away from libraries across the state. Gov. Hochul needs to take a serious look at the facilities across New York that are obsolete.”

In a December legislative hearing, it was stated that libraries in New York need over $1 billion to revitalize facilities. Gov. Hochul plans on cutting construction aid to libraries as part of her budget proposal.

"State Aid for libraries, library systems and for the construction of library facilities is crucial to ensuring affordable access to library services locally. Libraries are empowerment engines in our communities, we are open to all and are gap fillers for all sorts of issues residents are contending with - from helping folks who may not be savvy online to families looking to manage increasingly tight household budgets - libraries mean real dollars for real people. These cuts undermine the very real support everyday people rely on through their local libraries," said Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System

“We are the great equalizers, providing a level playing field for all within our service area and beyond.Libraries provide free access to information and resources for every person of every age in every community, without regard to ability or income.Yet, we have been left behind in terms of public investment in our infrastructure.Our last building renovation was done before the internet was invented. The ways in which people use library spaces has changed dramatically since the Information Age began.We need to update our facilities to meet people where they are, with updated technology and spaces. Our library continually gets requests from the public which we cannot accommodate due to our outdated floor plan. Investing in public libraries is an investment in every single person in every single community because libraries are open to all,” said Yvonne Cech, Director of John C. Hart Library in Shrub Oak, NY.

"We at the Kent Public Library are grateful to Assemblyman Slater for his comments concerning the importance of libraries at the Joint Budget Hearing for Elementary and Secondary Education," said Carol Donick, Director, Kent Public Library.

The above information was previously distributed and made public for immediate release by the New York State Assembly.



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