Saturday, November 15, 2008

For New Yorkers: Budget cuts to further impact libraries

Earlier this week, I posted about the legislative session at the New York Library Association Annual Conference. On Wednesday, Governor Paterson announced proposed additional cuts in the current NYS budget. The proposal includes an additional $20 million cut in library aid, on top of the cuts that have already been made. If this is adopted, library aid will have been cut 22% this year. (It should be noted that libraries in NYS are already underfunded.) This reportedly will roll-back state funding for libraries to the level in 1993 (15 years ago). This is occurring when library use is increasing (due to the recession) and cost of library resources continues to increase.

As has been repeated many times recently, libraries provide free access to information, but libraries are not free. There is a cost to running them and ensuring that they are meeting the needs of their patrons.

And while we might think that this cut will impact only public libraries, keep in mind that many non-public libraries in the state rely on resources that are made available to all New Yorkers. This cut will impact knowledge-seeker in the State.

For more information on the proposed cut and its impact, go to the NYLA web site.

BTW many digitization programs receive funding through local and national grants. Are budgets tighten, we should expect that the amount of grants funds available for these programs will tighten, too.

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