In this issue: Posted: January 19,2011
I. Proposed Budget Demolishes Statewide Library Programs
The first draft of the State’s budget proposal for 2012-13 affects every statewide library program. The proposal:
- Eliminates Loan Star Libraries (direct aid grants to public libraries)
- Eliminates all state funding for TexShare databases (replaces state funding for databases with increased fees to member libraries)
- Eliminates the K-12 Database program
- Eliminates the Library System Negotiated Grants Program (the new competitive grant program started last session for systems)
- Eliminates state funding for consulting services to libraries (program/staff based at the agency)
- Eliminates state funding for state depository program and TRAIL program
- Eliminates state funding for records management (replaces state funding with increased fees)
- Assumes an overall loss of over $8 million in IMLS funds (Note: federal funding is the source of funding for the regional library systems, the TANG program, and interlibrary loan.)
- Eliminates the Technology Allotment at TEA.
- Eliminates funding for the State Law Library (updated item: 1/20/11)
This budget shows a 99% decrease in state funding for statewide local library aid programs and a 93% state cut to library resource sharing programs at the State Library. Overall, the agency cuts amount to about a 70% cut in state funds and an all funds reduction about a third of the agency’s budget.
From the perspective of investing in communities, helping kids learn, spurring job placement, and maintaining a dynamic infrastructure for research and digital literacy through our libraries, this budget completely fails the people of Texas. For libraries, these recommendations not only potentially destroy almost every facet of critical statewide library services; they speak to a philosophy dismissive of supporting individuals and communities.
While this budget is just the starting point for deliberations, it is a frightening portent of the potential implosion of our state’s infrastructure for learning and economic development.
We must not let this stand. It is not just our funding over the next two years that is in danger -- it is the vital understanding of libraries and their role in offering education, providing meaningful and proven support to our economy and institutions of learning, and speaking to a state of vitality.
We need everyone to speak out for libraries. We need every library supporter to inundate their state representative and senator, the Governor, and the Lt. Governor with letters expressing the incredible damage these cuts would cause. We have a long and hard fight ahead of us, but it is one we must undertake.
Here is what you can do…
1) Call your state representative and senator and tell them not to cut library funding. Be prepared to make the case for your library and the impact it has on your community and students. For more information on library programs, see Issues and Taking Action .
2) Develop an awareness campaign within you community. See the “What My Library Means to Me Campaign .” Start marshaling your resources and get your army of supporters mobilized for action.
3) Inform people around you -- administrators, community powerbrokers, student groups, PTAs. Show them how they can save state funding for libraries. Ask them to speak and write to elected officials.
4) Participate in Legislative Day . (There is still time to get a hotel room through tomorrow!)
5) Write letters to the editor; contact your local media about library funding.
6) Above all: show up for duty! This is a cause for each and every one of us, regardless of political affiliation. We all want the same thing – a strong Texas with strong libraries. If there was ever a time we needed library supporters to be proactive and aggressive in their support for libraries, THE TIME IS NOW.
Fight for our libraries.
Let’s not undo a generation of progress!
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