Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 15, 2014

GLYNN: Staff shortage takes toll on library collection

Niagara Gazette — One of the gems in the Niagara Falls Public Library has been the Local History Department.

It's still unclear what will happen or how long it will remain in limbo in the wake of the recent staff shortage. The employee in charge of the collection retired in 2013 and no replacement was named. As you might expect, it's sort of a budget matter. But it's not time to panic.

Aside from the countless residents who find the third-floor department a rich resource of Niagara area history, it also is a valuable repository of information for researchers and travel writers from around the U.S. and even abroad.

"The closure of that history department is a disgrace," said a livid Paul Gromosiak, a local historian and author of nearly a dozen books on Niagara. 

It's not the first time that the room housing key documents and artifacts from the story of the Falls was shut down. For the past few years, it had been staffed for limited hours and by special arrangements. 

"Why was this allowed to happen?" Gromosiak asked during the public portion of a recent city council meeting."If our future is tourism, our history had better be a part of it because that's what the world wants to know and wants to see."

Library Director Michelle Petrazzoulo is acutely aware of the importance of the local history assets and fully intends to protect and enhance them. In fact, when the current library board approves the funding request, another full-time staffer hired will, like her predecessor, divide the duties between the local history department and the main first-floor operations.

•••

THE DARK SIDE: Some articles in the special issue of Sports Confidential (The Media Source, 2013) have strong links to the Buffalo-Niagara area. The magazine features more than 100 of the greatest scandals of all time. Topics run the gamut of human frailties: violence, drugs, gambling, sex, cheating, racism and sexism, and political posturing.

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