Release Date: December 21, 2006
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The former Cazenovia Branch Library, closed as a result of the Erie County budget crisis and back in operation as a community resource center thanks to the grassroots efforts of volunteers and state and city lawmakers, is increasing its Internet access thanks to the loan of six computer workstations by the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.
Following the library's closure in November 2005, Buffalo South District Councilmember Michael Kearns and Mark Lazzara, Americorps executive director, began efforts to engage the community at large to find ways to keep the library open.
With the help of state Assemblyman Mark Schroeder, Jennifer Westerholt, Americorps VISTA volunteer and executive director of the Cazenovia Community Resource Center, and a number of neighborhood volunteers, the facility reopened in May 2006.
Two successful book drives helped to fill the former library's shelves, but computer and Internet resources were scarce, so officials reached out to UB to help fill the gap.
As a result, six computer workstations about to be retired from state service in the UB School of Social Work and put into the surplus system will be made available on loan to the Cazenovia Community Resource Center.
At an event to be held at 11 a.m. on Dec. 21 in the Cazenovia Library, Nancy J. Smyth, dean of the School of Social Work, turned the equipment over to Schroeder, Kearns and the resource center staff.
"The faculty and staff of the School of Social Work are pleased to be able to help out the Cazenovia Community Resource Center with their technological needs," said Smyth.
"Our work here has been to make this facility as beneficial to the South Buffalo community as possible, and I am proud of what we have accomplished," said Kearns. "I appreciate the University at Buffalo School of Social Work and other organizations, whose assistance in this project has been crucial."
Because the resource center does not have information technology staff, the equipment on loan will be installed by volunteers from UB's Information Technology Services, a division of the UB Office of Student Affairs.
"The University at Buffalo, through the leadership of President John Simpson, is committed to finding ways in which we and our surrounding communities can form more vital and lasting partnerships toward a common benefit. This contribution from the School of Social Work is a prime example of how it can work," said Marsha Henderson, UB vice president of external affairs.
Volunteer efforts and donations have been vitally important to the Cazenovia Community Resource Center. Americorps volunteers repainted the inside of the building, and book drives brought in more than 1,600 books and other materials to allow the library to remain a useful neighborhood asset.
"Our goal was to make this facility an enhanced community asset," said Westerholt. "The University at Buffalo's generous loan helps us take one step closer to that goal, and we couldn't be more grateful."