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There was a feature on NPR's "All Things Considered," Thursday evening, that discussed the current state of library funding across the nation. As municipalities grapple with sinking budgets, libraries seem to be at the top of the chop list.
"Public libraries are becoming vulnerable targets as cities and states seek ways to cut their budgets. NPR's Margot Adler reports that some libraries are already feeling that pressure - even as they're serving more job-seekers."
The Audio Link is Here.
The Arlignton Advocate Says proposed budget cuts drove librarians out of the stacks and into the streets on Tuesday.
The librarian picket came in response to proposed cuts to library services in the town, including closing a branch, reduced hours, and losing 17 part-time library staffers. The cuts are part of $2.9 million in budget reductions proposed by the Town Manager as a way to help bridge the estimated $9 million gap for the next fiscal year.
"In some senses people have become desensitized to the fact that the economy is bad and cuts have to be made," said Kiah. "To see the actual cuts happen is another story."
Helen Freeman spotted Budget cuts threaten status of libraries from over at The Boston Globe.
They say local libraries are facing cutbacks in programs and personnel that could jeopardize their certification at a time when patrons are clamoring for high-speed Internet access and cultural activities.
\'\'When the economy is in distress, people use the libraries more than ever,\'\' McLeod said, noting a rise in circulation figures statewide. \'\'They stop buying books, cancel magazine subscriptions, and stop enrolling their kids in costly after-school activities. Instead, they rely more heavily on the free programs offered at their local libraries.\'\'
Lots of money stories floating around out there. Library budget woes may cut new books from CA, Library bond referendum defeated in Delafield, WI, Community built library but now it's slipping away, from Montreal, also in Canada, Library closure worries inner city users, In Wyoming library administrators around the state worry that budget cuts, including the proposed elimination of the Regional Library Service Systems, will compromise the quality of services available to library visitors statewide. Bad news all the way from Finland, where Libraries in the City of Helsinki are likely to shorten their opening hours next year. The bad news continues in Ohio, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
Some good news?Santa Monica City Council put off some major Capital Improvement Projects to release money for the Library project which is now underway.
Not a funding issue, but maybe interesting none the less, Tacoma, WA Library Board members voted unanimously Wednesday night to spend up to $100,000
for added security at the city's main facility.
"It's not so good with money as it's bad without."
-- Sam Levinson
Michael McGrorty writes: "Years from now, when the state and local governments are flush again, when the tap flows once more to local services, when we reach that state of near-equilibrium that passes for good times in the public library, the wiser heads among us will look back at the chaos of this time and wonder if there wasn't some way to prevent it.
And of course, as with all hindsight, the answers will seem painfully obvious: We should have planned better; there should have been reserves; we should have remembered that the curve always tends downward, that tomorrow always comes. -- Read More
Bad News From the University of Michigan. Broad discussions of state budget cuts at the University of Michigan turned into a specific list of layoffs Thursday when the campus library system confirmed it will terminate 15 full-time employees, eliminate 16 vacant positions and reduce 11 full-time jobs to part-time.
"State Librarian Virginia Lowell said any further budget cuts to the state's library system could jeopardize funding received from the federal government."
"Lowell said the $900,000 the state receives to help computerize the library system could be reduced if the library budget drops below a certain level. She said the state is close to that benchmark which she defined as 95 percent of the libraries' average budget for the past three years."
"We are teetering on the edge," she said." (from Hawaii Tribune)
Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday criticized state Librarian Virginia Lowell for failing to come up with ways to keep libraries open longer than 40 hours a week in the face of statewide budget cuts. The Lingle administration has ordered all state agencies to trim their budgets by as much as 5 percent in the face of less-than-stellar increases in revenues and her desire to forgo the use of $175 million in the Hawai\'i Hurricane Relief Fund. Sen. Bob Hogue Called for Lowell\'s resignation.
\"While community input is important, it\'s not the deciding factor of what days to close,\" she said at the time. \"It\'s finances that\'s driving the plan here. The real solution here is to put pressure on the lawmakers to adequately fund the library system.\"
Greg writes "My my, those library budgets are sure easy things to cut..."
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the showplace central library that Minneapolis is planning to build is now threatened by cost-conscious city officials. This is a tough challenge for brand-new library director Kit Hadley. Part of the problem is that, though voters approved the new construction, the city council has yet to vote to issue the necessary bonds. The MPL system faces, "A $25 million shortfall in its operating budget over the next 10 years...roughly equal to the entire cost of running the system this year."
The MPL website has a good information page about the project, including a picture of the half-demolished shell of the previous Central library.
Ryan passed over This One From New Jersey on those of us who will call police to report those who fail to return books, videos and other library materials.
They say some libraries decide that the battle to recover their losses is just not worth it. The Jefferson Township Library, which sends out 80 to 90 overdue notices per week, does not pursue complaints.
Same Kinda Story from Colorado.
\"Libraries make every effort not to beat up on patrons, When somebody goes to buy a car or a house,\" Seebohm said, they come in here screaming, \'Why are you doing this?\'\"