Friday, November 14, 2008

The angry librarian


The NYS Division of Budget has proposed a $20 million cut or 20% reduction in Library Aid that would bring state funding for libraries down to 1993 levels. Library Aid has already been cut twice this year from $102 million to $99 million.

Although we realize the state is facing difficult economic times, libraries and library systems have already done their part toward reducing the state’s budget deficit. Other sources of revenue need to be explored and other state funded programs to do their share to reduce the state budget deficit.

When: Tuesday, November 18th 1- 2:30 pm
Where: Well of the Legislative Office Building, Albany
Directions: Vans and cars can find parking in the garages underneath or nearby the Empire State Plaza( visit
for more information). Buses can drop off attendees at the Madison Avenue side of the Empire State Plaza (between the ESP and State Museum) and park at Crossgates Mall. Attendees would then walk down the length of the Empire State Plaza, go through security check points and go left toward the Legislative Office Building. You need to bring identification to get into the building. The Well of the LOB is on the bottom floor near the elevators.
Stolen from various listservs:
20% IS a disaster to public library systems and the member libraries served. And it is on top of a $3 million cut that was made earlier in the year, therefore a $23 million cut out of a $103 million library aid budget. A 22% cut overall, THIS fiscal year.
LIBRARIES provide unemployment assistance by offering computer classes, resume writing skills materials, free internet to look for jobs, access to Microsoft Word and printing services, informational databases as well as the reference librarians who help them use all those tools. Actually, libraries can serve roles in emergencies as well. They can and have served as information clearing houses, places of safety for the elderly during hot summers, and much more.
When times were good and the State experienced substantial surpluses, libraries did NOT receive any additional funding nor an adjustment to the funding formulas.
Libraries and library systems have been asked to shoulder a much larger (and we believe unfair) proportional share of the budget reduction. A local state senator once told a group of librarians at the annual lobby day for libraries, "You librarians are too nice!"
We should stop saying “It’s free at the library.” As we who work in libraries know, it’s NOT free. Materials costs, electronic access, heat, lights, salaries, etc. are huge expenses. But, we’ve been telling the public for so long that it’s free, the fact that we need more money really doesn’t have an impact. Maybe we could come up with language, like, “today’s event is sponsored by... (wherever your funding came from) and there will be no charge for admission.”

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: "Well-behaved women [or men] rarely make history"

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