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Straszko estate sends library surprise donation

Date: 8/31/2010

Sept. 1, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- The Agawam Public Library received an unexpected increase in this fiscal year's book budget courtesy of the late Esther Straszko.

Straszko, a former teacher at Katherine Danahy and Benjamin J. Phelps Elementary Schools, gifted $4,000 to the library, which has been used to purchase more than 220 adult and children's print and audio books.

"We're grateful: $4,000 is gigantic for us!" Judith Clini, director of the Agawam Public Library, said. "We were not aware of it at all; [the money] just came to us as the will was probated."

Clini noted a plate acknowledging Straszko's gift has been affixed to item purchased with her donation.

She said the funds came at a time when circulation is continuously on the rise. "We were almost 340,000 items circulated last year," Clini added.

She noted e-book, CD, DVD and materials for patrons who are visually impaired have also increased.

The library's annual $80,000 book budget from the town is supplemented by grants, state aid and private donations, Clini explained.

Every donation, especially one as large as Straszko's, is appreciated beyond measure during this trying economic times, when libraries are needed more than ever, she said.

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