Thursday, February 03, 2011

For New Yorkers: Governor's proposed 2011-2012 budget

On Feb. 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his budget proposal for 2011-2012.  In the proposal, he has the following cuts to libraries and schools:
  • 10% reduction in Library Aid from $83 million to $76 million
  • $1.5 billion reduction in School Aid
  • 10% or $3.9 million reduction in Bundy Aid to private colleges
  • $115 million cut to SUNY
  • $70 million cut to CUNY

 While a news report today talked about library funding over the last four years, it is important to note that state funding for libraries is currently at 1998 levels. 

A local school administrator sees these cuts as a way of forcing school districts to cooperate and consolidate.  We may see that occur with some libraries.

{What follows is totally my point of view...}

Libraries always focus on service to their users/patrons/members and in keeping that service intact.  We don't want our users to suffer because of our budget woes, so we "make do" with less.  For some, that may prove that libraries don't need as much funding as they receive.  Maybe it is time to visibly do less with less -- e.g., fewer hours and services, less space, etc. -- and let legislators hear about the pain that is causes. 

{End of my point of view}

NYLA's Library Advocacy Day is March 1 and likely 1000+ library staff members and supports will descend on Albany.  If you cannot go, there are a number of advocacy tools on the NYLA web site as well as links to contact information for state legislators.

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