Niagara Gazette — Budget decisions always pose a difficult challenge, especially when a city like Niagara Falls is so financially strapped for reasons too numerous to list.
Slashing funds for the Niagara Falls Public Library, however, is a move that should be taken only after a thorough review of the situation. It probably would not require a expert accountant to find some fat in the municipal payroll or waste in several departments with those savings channeled elsewhere (e.g. the library).
Michelle Petrazzoulo, the library director, said she was optimistic that the Main Street facility would not be adversely impacted by the final budget. She said that Mayor Paul Dyster and the city council have always been supportive of the library and its services. In fact, the council was expected to deal with the matter at its budget meeting Wednesday afternoon.
At a cursory glance any day in the week, you'll find the Earl W. Brydges Library (the building named for the late senator who was a stalwart proponent of education in the Empire State) is a vital hub of the Niagara community.
Countless local residents use its many facilities and resources including the bank of 15 computers for learning, research or just general guidance in job hunting and other pursuits.
The main collection downstairs — the wide-ranging subjects and hundreds of biographies, among other offerings — must surely rank as one of the best libraries in Western New York. The third-floor Local History Department is a jewel for anyone just browsing the materials or delving into documents and publications in serious study. In the past several years, as many of us know, that department survived some severe threats of cutbacks in services and reduced hours.
In retrospect, all of us probably take libraries for granted. It may take a disaster — or something akin to that — to appreciate their value to the community.