On Wednesday afternoon, at the public library downtown, Erie County Executive Chris Collins announced the formation of a Rare Books Commission to explore how best to showcase the collections of rare manuscripts and literary ephemera housed at various regional institutions. Given that the budget and four-year plan Collins unveiled a week earlier threatens to devastate the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System, the commission might consider expanding the scope of its mission. Collins’ four-year plan holds county support for the regional library system steady at $22.2 million per year. But the libraries already have been dipping into reserve funds to stay afloat in recent years. At the current funding level, those reserves will be depleted by 2011, the year that the county runs out of Obama stimulus money, when the Collins budget suggests a possible 10 percent cut in county funding for libraries. Such a cut virtually ensures that the libraries will cut hours or close branches, reduce staff, and curtail acquisitions. As a result, books and access to books will indeed become more rare.