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Interlibrary Book Borrowing Threatened in Weston

Weston Public Library visitors will not be able to return books or use their library cards at other libraries in the state if Gov. Dannel Malloy's 2011-12 budget isn't reworked, said Karen Tatarka , Weston's library director.

"We can't buy every book that everyone is interested in," said Tatarka. She said the Weston Public Library uses Connecticar to transport about 60 books each week among local libraries.

Connecticard and Connecticar are state-funded programs that enable libraries to make interlibrary loans and deliver shared materials to a borrower's nearest library. Both programs would be effectively eliminated under Malloy's proposed budget.

"We're hoping it doesn't get cut," said Tatarka. "It's a tough time." These programs provide reimbursement for services provided by libraries to residents of other towns, and all funding goes directly to local libraries.

The proposed cuts to these programs are before the legislature's Appropriations Committee. The State Library Administration has proposed alternative reductions that would allow the Danbury Library and other local and academic libraries to continue the interlibrary loan program. For Connecticar and Connecticard not to disappear, the Appropriation Committee must accept this alternative proposal.

Under these programs, any resident of Connecticut has access to 16 million items, 88 percent of which are books. About 300,000 residents borrowed more than 4.9 million items through the programs in 2010. The 4.9 million items loaned to residents of other towns represent a value of more than $73 million.

The Friends of the Weston Library urged residents to contact state legislators and the Appropriations Committee to help save these programs.

How have these programs been beneficial to you? Leave your comments below.

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