So many pages of Mary Suhm's FY2009-2010 budget left to sort through, and so little time left till tomorrow's council budget briefing. But several Friends of Unfair Park worry about an item they found at the very bottom of the page devoted to the Central Library's line-item breakdown: the amount of money being spent on, ya know, books for the bookshelves. Because in the current budget, the council OK'd spending $1,719,121 on new books -- though only $1,670,852 appears to have been spent. But in the new budget, Suhm's allocated a mere $470,095 -- which is quite the cut, given the reported rise in library use 'round the country (and locally), as folks figure it's cheaper to borrow than to buy.
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Neighborhood libraries will also endure substantive cuts: $1,768,366 allocated this year to $872,823 proposed for next year. (Suhm's budget says that only $355,384 was guesstimated spent.) But noted The Boston Globe in March, library budgets are often the first to go in these tough times.