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"These are tough times for libraries. Last year, Seattle shut down all its libraries and furloughed staff for two weeks after the city cut the system's budget by five percent. Minneapolis Public Library has eliminated 33 positions and is considering canceling the construction of its new downtown library in anticipation of a $25 million budget shortfall over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, in Queens, N.Y., a 20 percent budget cut led to lay-offs for 100 library staffers and reduced operating hours in many branches to only 30 per week."
"The situation has become so dismal that the Chicago-based American Library Association launched its Save America's Libraries campaign in January. The campaign aims to get governments to mitigate funding cuts and even to restore funding."
"The association faces an uphill battle. Because more than 90 percent of the funding for public libraries comes from local and state taxes, any restored money just means deeper cuts for other services." (from American City and Country via Library Journal)
Word From California that Oracle will donate $300,000 for what is planned to be a "public library for the 21st century." The $61 million library will be built on its current site at Third Avenue in San Mateo, CA, and is expected to open in late 2005.
"We hoped to energize and inspire people here on why the community needs a new library," said Rosalie Gann, director of corporate giving at Oracle. The company's gift will be geared toward exploring science, math and technology in the new library.
SomeOne writes "Just when they are needed most, Connecticut's public libraries are struggling with budget cuts while trying to keep bookshelves filled and services current. More patrons, whose household fortunes have withered in the soft investment and job markets, are popping into their local libraries to borrow a bestseller, or to job-search on the Internet.
Erica Hickey QuikSubmitted Could fees be the answer to library crisis? from The Pittspurgh Post-Gazette on the libraries in PA.
The budgets are being cut by an amazing 50 percent this year, they say a stagnant economy coupled with a powerful White House so determined to cut taxes so deeply that airport security budgets have been reduced produces a gloomy picture for libraries.
"In return, we average folks will have more money to spend -- a whopping 1 percent, if we're lucky, after the latest federal tax cut -- so we have it to support our favorite endangered institution, the library, while we wait for the economy to take off again.
In a way, paying for libraries returns them to the days of Carnegie's youth, when they were the private domain of the rich. We can only hope that there are modern Col. James Andersons around to let us use them."
I had to look at the first paragraph of this story twice to believe it ...
\"PA Governor wants to use bailout to lessen cuts. Governor would use much of $900 million from Washington to soften reductions in programs for needy for the next 2 years. Looks like some good news for librarians, recovering drug addicts, bus riders and others who may be poor or needy: The state budget cuts won\'t be as harsh as previously announced.\" Get the full effect here.
A Cincinnati media anchor questions why "Hamilton County Public Library (OH), amid stiff budget cuts, is cutting hours, raising fees, and holding back pay raises for some workers," but purchased 621 office chairs @ $555 each for staff. "Right now, the system is facing a $4 million deficit. Tonight, Target 5 wants to know why the library system bought hundreds of expensive designer chairs for their employees." Read More.
Los Angeles County may close 15 of its 84 libraries and reduce hours at other branches if a proposed $7.3 million cut is approved. The remaining libraries would cut back on hours. Nineteen of the libraries would be closed an additional two days per week under the proposal.
SomeOne writes "This NewsDay Story is on Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pleaded for donations to help buy books for city libraries on Thursday, the latest cry for private funds to help a public agency stunned by cuts under a staggering budget deficit. "
Robin from over at InMyBook spotted This Little Blurb that says with its book-purchasing fund cut drastically, the Oakland Public Library is asking the public to help it through its budget crunch by donating a book.
System-wide wish lists are available on Amazon.com., and at several local bookstores. They include Cody's Books, Marcus Books and Walden Pond Bookstore. Many individual branches have their own wish list, and Diesel Bookstore and Laurel Bookstore have wish lists for their nearby branches.
The University of Illinois budget has become the latest gob of spackling to be slathered across the state of Illinois' gaping $5 billion budget hole. Libraries at all three campuses, which have already seen one round of cuts, will have to trim even more from their FY 2004 budget, and possibly see a recision in funds from the FY 2003 budget. The library's math library was recently closed and the current cuts, if as deep as expected, will mean the closing of school's art and architecture library. More from this LJ blurb.
The libraries at the school's Urbana-Champaign campus hold over 9 million volumes, making it one of the top ten largest libraries in the nation, and the largest publicly-supported university research library in the world.