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Library advocates ask Assembly for $260,000 budget boost

Nathaniel Herz

Advocates for the Anchorage library system are asking the Assembly for a $260,000 boost to the library's budget for next year, primarily for improved internet access.

The Anchorage Library Foundation is asking Assembly members to spend an additional $200,000 to install more public computers with internet access, and to increase the speed of that access.

"There's a deplorable slowness," said Mary Rasmussen, the foundation's advocacy committee chair. She spent last Tuesday at a table outside the Assembly meeting at Loussac Library in Midtown, distributing information about the foundation's request and encouraging people to lobby their Assembly members.

The foundation is also asking for an additional $60,000 for materials -- things like books, magazines, and DVDs.

Mayor Dan Sullivan's proposed library budget for next year is currently set at $7.8 million. That's slightly below last year's, with some miscellaneous savings and the removal of a one-time $200,000 infusion for materials offset by increases in labor costs.

The foundation will probably direct its efforts towards Assemblyman Patrick Flynn, who Rasmussen said has been supportive in the past.

"He's the one we're focusing on for the broadband," she said. She added that out of the 11 Assembly members, "we like to think we have over six of them."

Reach Nathaniel Herz at nherz@adn.com or 257-4311.


By NATHANIEL HERZ
nherz@adn.com