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Urban library use booming

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Across the country, urban library use is booming says a new national study, and that's also true here in Buffalo. The new Pew Foundation report says library use is booming in cities in hard economic times and good economic times, from problems in Detroit to massive increases in Seattle.

Locally, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library says it's on the good side, with sharp increases in everything from e-books to helping the unemployed  learn how to attach a re-designed resume to an e-mailed job application.

Library director Mary Jean Jakubowski says if the library were open more hours, there would be more people stationed at computer keyboards.

"This past year, in 20-12, our computer usage was up by 1.8-percent which is a significant increase, especially with the lessened open hours that we had during 2012. We really are reaching capacity of what we have. So we are looking at that as we look at every single service we provide," said Jakubowski.

It's not unusual to visit a library computer room and find every computer in use.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.