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Museum and library reps make case for continued county funding

It's important to fund both history and reading, members of the County Legislature were told today during a meeting of the Public Service Committee.

Representatives of local libraries as well as the Holland Land Office Museum presented annual reviews that both contained requests to keep county funding for these programs at current levels.

"County support is very important to use in order for us to provide the level of service we do to our guests and to our community," said HLOM Executive Director Jeff Donahue. "We are doing what we can (to increase revenue) though our programs such as Wonderland of Trees and the summer program, but this only brings in a small portion (of our budget)."

Laura Cerri Pastecki, from the Haxon Library in Oakfield, said libraries still play an important role in the community. Seniors on fixed incomes still depend on borrowing books and many come into learn how to use computers, and people who can't afford computers depend on the library for online research and creating resumes.

"You might think the library is a thing of the past with technology these days, but just the opposite is true," Pastecki said. "There's more information out there and more entertainment out there and people use the libraries for information and entertainment."

Debbie Rider, a trustee with the Richmond Memorial Library, said there is typically a 30- to 45-minute wait to use a computer there and that many middle school children use the library as a place to do homework after school.

"There's such a huge number of children who come from school to the library directly," Rider said. "It allows the library to reach a population it might not normally reach and a chance for the children to access resources they might not otherwise get."

Donahue gave a detailed report on HLOM actives, which includes school and group tours, visits to local schools and leading history tours in the local area.

"Our history just isn't in one building," Donahue said. "It's our entire area."

In the past year, 3,000 people have visited the muesum and more than 400 artifacts were added to the collection.

Upcoming events include the 12th Annual Wonderland of Trees, the Batavia Antique Show and Sale, a bus trip to the New York Central Terminal in Buffalo and a lecture series of women's rights in the 19th and 19th centuries.  

In December, the museum will host a traveling exhibition, "Lincoln, the Constitution and the Civil War."

No budget numbers were discussed and legislators offered no comments on what they might support, or not.

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