This sad story has a potentially happy ending. With fiscal chaos forcing library branch closings in Erie County, the littlest branch hopes to turn a new page this winter -- and survive.
It's sad that folks in West Falls have to reinvent their tiny library as an independent community one, squeezed from a county system by county support cuts that will close 16 of 52 branches. It's wonderful that they've rallied to do just that.
It's a complex turnover, however small the scale. The library actually was closed by the Aurora Library Board, because the county cutbacks forced that choice and the larger Aurora Town Public Library serves the same region. But the West Falls Library is a 70-year community tradition known for its children's programs, and the community refused to lose that.
So a non-profit group will run the West Falls-Colden Community Library. The Town of Aurora, which owns the building, will find money to pay utilities. The books, furniture and computers will stay. Volunteers will set up new procedures, and eventually staff the library when it reopens in January.
This is a case of folks who valued a service too much to lose it and found a creative way to keep it when county government support dried up. Government still should be in the business of providing community libraries, but this crisis forced a system downsizing, and the Friends of the West Falls Library found a way to think outside the downsized system. Their work is a model -- and perhaps not just for other libraries.