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Little Libraries being discussed in the Village of Blasdell

Convenience and accessibility in relation to the needs of local residents are elements of importance discussed as part of implementing “Little Libraries” in Blasdell, a measure that village officials say should take place by the spring.

Little Libraries, described at last Wednesday’s (Feb. 20) Village Board meeting by Blasdell Deputy Mayor Lou McDonald as covered outdoor kiosks existing on standing posts, are said to be locations in which residents can access easily by walking in the course of a given day. There are slated to be five or six such structures constructed in Blasdell in various spots, sites at which individuals can use the honor system of returning and taking out books, free of charge. It was suggested that donations of unused or surplus books could be used to build the supply of available texts at the Little Libraries.

A further discussion among village officials last Wednesday seemed to suggest a possibility of individuals or businesses, who donate books for the purpose of supplying Little Library sites, being eligible for a tax deduction. Such discussion did not yield conclusive results on the write-off possibility, although McDonald said donations would be greatly helpful for reading purposes.

“Some people may have stacks of books stuck in the house, and (donating items) can help get rid of them,” said McDonald. “(Implementing a handful of Little Libraries) is a way of helping the walkability of the village. Someone walking their dog can stop by and pick up a book to read.”

It was noted that a system of book donations could possibly be established through the Food Bank of Western New York in Blasdell. Additionally, it was stated that the Hamburg Public Library, located on Buffalo Street, could possibly have an overage of books and would likely be open to donating texts to the Little Library units in Blasdell. Further assistance of individuals is being sought by village officials in volunteering manpower and handiwork in construction of the covered kiosks.

The addition of Little Library sites comes after the village’s main library at 121 Miriam Avenue had closed, leaving residents without a local library. Similar kiosk reading sites were stated as having cropped up in the Parkside Avenue area of Buffalo, where another main library had seen its doors closed. It was further added that Women Infants and Children (WIC) of Erie County currently use the former main library site in the village.

Blasdell Mayor Michael Petrie described the idea of installing the Little Library sites as productive, saying, “It sounds pretty neat.”

In other meeting action, the Village Board passed by 4-1 vote a resolution that opposes what is described to be a hastily put-together gun control bill titled NY Safe Act, an enaction initiated by state Governor Andrew Cuomo that Petrie believes needs to re-visited and that infringes upon individuals’ basic rights. Trustee Matt Chandler cast the lone dissenting “No” vote, stating that although he does not oppose the merits of the village’s resolution, the trustee added that other more local, pertinent issues face the Village Board and should be addressed before such a wide-ranging item.

The resolution includes statements of the gun control bill infringing upon the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment- stated as including the Bill of Rights- being rushed before the U.S. Senate and Congress without incorporating a single public hearing or input from state law enforcement agencies. The resolution additionally lists the bill leaving state lawmakers with not enough time to review the ordinance, while leaving questions with “implementation and regulation of the new law.”

From the village’s point of view, the resolution later concludes that the Village Board believes the gun control law must be repealed and have its restrictive parts replaced, with an emphasis placed on asking Cuomo and legislative leaders to suspend the law as soon as possible and look at aspects of gun control “in a more logical manner, focusing on the real issues related to control- a law that will strengthen the effect on public safety and not infringe upon our constitutional rights.”

The NY Safe Act had been stated as being implemented in wake of the tragic and fatal shootings taking place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Various opposition had been brought to particulars of the gun control law, from noted municipalities, including in Blasdell with the village’s resolution having wording of the law “should focus on increasing penalties for criminals who use firearms to harm and threaten law abiding citizens and address the issues of mental illness related to violence.”

McDonald is noted as having brought the NY Safe Act resolution to the Village Board.

Also last Wednesday, the board approved the addition of Nathaniel Smith to the active rolls of the Blasdell Volunteer Fire Department.
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