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Gianaris seeks boro library funds, one book at a time

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"We're asking our local merchants and local residents to contribute to our libraries," he said from the Steinway Street branch library in western Queens. He aims to collect $100,000 with a "buy-a-book" drive that will purchase reading material for branches across the borough. Thomas Galante, interim director of the Queens Borough Library, said the money would be a great help since libraries have been cut by $10 million since 2002 - reductions that have closed 44 branches on the weekends. The library is unable to buy all the new books it needs with about 40 percent less money for restocking than the system had in 1999, Galante said. The Queens library, the busiest in the nation, is struggling with a circulation that is up 8 percent while its staff has fallen 20 percent in the past two years, the director said. As the library loses state funding, he said it becomes more dependent on private revenue. Last year's book drive raised $175,000, Galante said. Donation slips are available online at www.queenslibrary.org/qlf/howtohelp.asp. All major credit cards are accepted and givers can make a donation in another person's name to mark a special occasion like a birth or death. Donations over $25 earn a nameplate in a new book. The Astoria business leaders who attended Gianaris' news conference last Thursday said they were behind the venture. "It's important because second to our schools it's the next step to learning for our children," said Maria Torniali, chairwoman of the Astoria Local Development Corp., which represents more than 300 merchants in the area. "I love libraries. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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