ALBANY, 01/19/12 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today announced that he was named to a newly created Senate Select Committee on Libraries. This 19-member bipartisan body was established on January 10th through passage of a senate resolution.
“Our libraries play a vital role in our communities,” Seward said. “As a long-time advocate for libraries, I look forward to furthering my role in promoting their benefits and assisting them in addressing their needs.”
The select committee is authorized to conduct meetings, conferences and public hearings to gather information and to make recommendations on library related legislative proposals.
Senator Hugh T. Farley (R/C/I- Schenectady), chairman of the committee, said, "From 1978 to 2008, I was chairman of the subcommittee on libraries. When the senate changed leadership in 2009, the Democratic majority eliminated this committee. I was extremely disappointed and concerned by this. Libraries have their own special needs, and I had recommended reestablishing a special senate committee to focus on and address their issues. I applaud Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for recognizing the importance of libraries and appointing this committee."
Mike Borges, executive director of the New York Library Association, said, “The library community is very pleased that the senate has reactivated a special committee on libraries and looks forward to working with all the members to address the needs of libraries and library systems around the state.”
“In our rural areas, libraries truly are community centers, serving as the hub for countless activities. Along with traditional book lending and research opportunities, our libraries help job seekers who come to use the Internet to search for employment or refresh their resumes. Many others stop by to research their family trees or simply enjoy some quiet time with a good book,” Seward added.
Senator Seward, a consistent advocate for libraries, received an “A” grade from the New Yorkers for Better Libraries PAC in its 2011 Voter’s Guide: The Library Advocate’s Guide to the Voting Records of the New York State Legislature.
There are some 750 public libraries in New York state, with a total of about 7,000 libraries when academic, school and special libraries are included. All totaled, New York’s libraries maintain nearly 250 million volumes, circulating over 160 million items per year.