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Erie County public libraries are seeking an increase of about one-half in their new book budget for the coming year, noting that their allotment is one of the lowest in the state.

The county has made a commitment to add a total of $1 million to the book budget over the next three years -- a proposal of County Executive Gorski that began with the current budget. The library system already has received the first installment of $333,333 for 1990.

However, in the $19.3 million budget proposed for 1991, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library board of trustees is seeking an additional $150,000 -- a total of $483,333 -- for new books, it decided Thursday.

"I'm looking at my needs and in that area we are woefully short," said Richard O. Hopkins, chairman of the board's Budget and Finance Committee.

Hopkins said more is needed to build up the library's collection to an adequate level.

"Our book budget is only 9 percent of our operating budget -- the lowest of the 23 systems in the state," Library Director Donald H. Cloudsley said.

Board Chairman Ronald R. Benzow called for the board to request even more for the book budget. Last year the board asked for $2.5 million for books, periodicals, tapes and recordings. It received a total of $1.96 million, Benzow said.

"Even with the $333,333 from the county and the proposed $150,000 increase in the second draft proposal for 1991, we are still slightly below what we asked for last year," he said calling on r new books
the board to ask for as much as $2.7 million for its book budget.

The board adopted the proposal, which is $2.14 million, or 12.4 percent, over last year's budget, with only Benzow and Vice Chairman Carl J. Calabrese voting against it. The board will present its budget proposal to county lawmakers in the fall.

In other business, the board said it will not let the Leonardo da Vinci High School use space in the library's basement to hold classes because, they said, the auditorium is used heavily as a meeting place for community groups.

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