Congratulations go out to Jennifer Potter, Director of Niagara Falls Public Library, for being our most recent example of what honest, focused library advocacy can accomplish. Jennifer has received word from New York State Senator Robert Ortt’s office that he has obtained $20,000 for the library’s Local History Department. This aid resulted from Jennifer’s letters to officials and newspaper articles detailing the amount of need being experienced in Niagara Falls Public’s budget. Every library could use an injection of funds particularly after budget cuts as this particular public library has experienced but in this case the kind of archival collections being put in serious jeopardy are those of unique and studied value. Researchers from around the world have used the collections on electricity, geological and industrial heritage and resources of the beacon of freedom, the Underground Railway. There are well-funded organizations attracting tourist dollars built on foundations of far less depth and national history than this institution so there is little doubt that with further funding, more open hours would be a boon to researchers and tourists alike.
The needs of this library, however, are widespread and include the preservation of these archives which, if not tended to, will risk eradication in the coming few years. The city of Niagara Falls is at a crossroads and its tentative climb from decades of downturn and economic distress will only be hindered without further attention to its pillar institutions. The Earl Brydges Library serves as a home base for community organizations, school children, serious researchers and the burgeoning populations of immigrants who will form this century’s basis of urban re-birth. That’s a lot of hats for an institution to wear but it cannot afford not to serve any of these roles. Every city’s library is a required building block and standard for its citizens but Niagara Falls Public Library is, without argument, a steady symbol in a tenuous and fragile rebuilding vision.
Jennifer Potter’s reasoned requests to the officials in charge has resulted in much needed monetary help but this is only a step in making sure that elected officials are aware of the treasures right in their own backyard and the benefit that attention to these issues now will bring in the future. Read more. Another.