We’ve been told many times that the public library is one of those institutions that people love, don’t think much about, and expect will always be there. Well folks, we’re in trouble. We’re staring into the face of county, state, and federal funding cuts, as soon as a month or so from now.
On the county level, where our staffing and operating budgets originate, we’re looking at a possible 10% budget cut or more. At the state level, where most of our databases, our telecommunications discounts, and a lot of our programs are funded, we’ve been told to expect a 70% reduction. If we lose our state funding, all the matching federal grants will also go away. The federal government sponsors the big IMLF granting program from which we derive money for programs like our Summer Reading Programs.
Let me put that in dollars. The proposed cuts for 2012-2013 are $28 million plus $5 million for the K-12 programs plus $8 million in federal funding, for a total of $41 million. Given who, across the state, uses library computer services, databases, programs, and other services that this money funds, these cuts will affect every community, school, and institution of higher learning in Texas.
If you’re inclined to help, it looks like sending your comments to your State representative about what the library means to you will make a big difference. Our management went to Austin last week and delivered the comment cards you have written to date. The legislators who saw them were impressed. On behalf of all our customers, we’d appreciate you being the squeaky wheel.
Here’s a link to help you find your state legislator. On the right sidebar, scroll down to "Who represents me?" and put in your address.
Thanks a million, or forty-one. Barbara Mitchell, Librarian