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IT'S VITAL THAT WE KEEP PUBLIC LIBRARIES OPEN

In tough times, it might seem to be ungracious to protest any cuts in the funding of our public libraries. But that is what I must do. The proposed Erie County budget could damage the essential services provided by the libraries. Access to reference material, computer resources, educational opportunities and leisure activities become even more important in uncertain economic conditions. Quite simply, libraries must be open to provide for these needs. A library closed because of decreased hours is a useless library.

Everyone - young, old, poor, rich - can benefit from a fully supported public library. In my opinion, the taxes spent on libraries provide the best return on the dollar for everyone in the community. Even those who never walk into one benefit economically from the library usage of others.

We are quick to protest any hazards to physical health that may occur when funds to meet those public needs are in jeopardy. We should be just as quick to protest hazards to intellectual health that may occur when library funding is threatened.

I suggest that others who also care about libraries express their ideas to the Erie County executive and legislators.

BEATRICE J. ELYE

Williamsville

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