Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dear Library Advocate (from NYLA)

If you have not already done so, please contact the Governor to request him to maintain level spending for library operating and construction aid (i.e. not cut Library Aid). This may be your last opportunity to impact the formation of the Governor's 2008-09 Executive Budget.

The Governor will give his State of the State Address on January 9th, where he will provide broad outlines for his budget and legislative goals for 2008.

On January 22nd, the Division of Budget will release the Governor's 2008-09 Executive Budget to the public. So please act now!

Remember Tuesday, March 11th is Library Lobby Day, please make every effort to attend.

Visit and click the "Contact Your Elected Officials" button to send letter to Governor Spitzer or send your own letter - see sample below.

Hon. Eliot Spitzer
New York State
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, New York 12224

Dear Governor Spitzer:

I am writing to urge you to maintain current levels of state aid for library systems and public library construction and make it permanent.

You were the first Governor in over a dozen years to mention libraries in the State of the State Address and backed those words up by including increased funding for library systems ($8 million) and public library construction ($14 million) in the 2007-08 State Budget and I thank you for that.

The library community waited eight long years before finally obtaining an increase in state aid for library systems and public library construction. Between 1998 and 2006, library aid remained stagnant and was even cut by $4.5 million in 2005.

The modest increase in operating and construction aid are greatly appreciated and needed. In several cases, they arrived just in time to permit library systems to sustain their full range of operations. These funds have benefited libraries, schools and communities, like my own, by enhancing both the services and facilities available to library patrons of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.

However, libraries cannot initiate long-term service improvements using these funds without a firm commitment from the state that these funds will be available in subsequent years to sustain those improvements. That is why I urge you to maintain current levels of state aid for library systems and public library construction and make it permanent.

The increase in funding has provided hope to the over 9 million New Yorkers with library cards, that our state finally has leadership that values the contributions that libraries make to our information-based economy, to the flourishing of our democracy and to society’s insatiable need for information and life-long learning.

I also urge you to amend the Contracts for Excellence initiative to permit increased funding for the purchase of books for school libraries (increase in Library Materials Aid from $6.25 to $10 per pupil) as well as hiring school library media specialists in these high need school districts.

Thank you for your continued support for libraries and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

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