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Library attendance up as grant comes in

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Difficult economic times seem to be a factor in increasing attendance at the New York Public Library’s Bronx branches as more people look for free things close to home.

According to Michael Alvarez, library network manager for west Bronx branches, attendance at the Bronx Library Center at 310 E. Kingsbridge Road and around the borough is up this year, even as summer reading programs wind down.

“Things are difficult outside of our doors, but in the libraries attendance is up,” Alvarez said. “The largest increase in attendance is in the borough of the Bronx. We are finishing up our summer reading campaign, and once again the Bronx had the largest number of participan­ts.”

A surprise grant of $50,000 to purchase library materials such as books, DVDs, and CDs, as well as for programming, was made available by Senator Pedro Espada for branches in his district. A check presentation occurred at the Bronx Library Center on Wednesday, August 26.

“This is a down payment on our future,” Espada said.

Alvarez said that he is grateful for any money that comes to the library, especially considering the tough economic reality the borough faces.

“We have received many gifts and are grateful to receive a large donation, particularly in these budget cutting times,” Alvarez stated. “It demonstrates that elected officials know how important libraries are, and when we received gifts like this one, we are thrilled.”

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