In an call to action for libraries in the Huffington Post, Carol Fitzgerald of Bookreporter.com gave advice on what to do to fight the proposals by many local governments to cut library services--or in the case of her hometown, Cedar Grove, N.J., to cut the library system entirely.
"Write your Senators impassioned letters on what libraries have meant and mean to you today. Talk about how important all libraries--school, public and college--are to this country and how awful it will be when they start closing or experience devastating reductions in services. The more personal the note, the more effective.... Also, consider writing an Op-Ed piece or other article for your local paper."
Don't forget to check in at Save Libraries for the latest news on how libraries around the country are faring and what can be done to help. Another site in the same vein (although I think saving is a lot more encouraging than losing), Losing Libraries, in cooperation with Library Journal.
If passed, New York's Gov. Paterson's proposed budget cuts would bring state funding to libraries down to just $84.5 million.
In the Westchester Library System (WLS), half of the 38 public libraries have cut back their hours due to budget cuts just since 2008, and 50 full-time jobs have been eliminated in only the past year.
"Given the state's fiscal woes, reductions in state spending are unfortunately unavoidable – yet funding for our libraries cannot be further compromised," said State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer.
Calling the library system a "great equalizer" she noted that libraries serve the greater community in a way so few organizations do: "They are places where individuals of any means can find answers to their questions in a very calm sanctuary."
Dave Donelson, a Trustee of the WLS, slammed the proposed budget, and juxtaposed the need and demand for public libraries to ticket sales of major-league baseball. " There were over 8 million visits to Westchester libraries in 2009," said Donelson. "That's more than a full season attendance at Yankee Stadium."
"Libraries are not just a depository of books; libraries are places where teenagers gather after school, where seniors come for help navigating the maze of our health insurance system, and where thousands of people come for help finding a job," he said.
Photos and story of the protest from Chappaqua Patch.
Charlotte, NC – In a historic move, five of the Towns in Mecklenburg County have committed to providing one-time support to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library for fiscal year 2011 (FY2011). In each of the five Towns, local governing bodies met, and approved or conditionally approved an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement with the Library.
The five participating Towns have committed to the following levels of support.
* Cornelius: $175,000 contribution
* Davidson: forgiveness of lease payment in the amount of approximately $37,000; and solicitation of additional donations to total $175,000
* Huntersville: in-kind contributions such as programs, cross-promotion, representative liaison for the Huntersville
* Destinations Round Table, and police/security presence in and around the North County Regional Library
* Matthews: restructuring of lease to defer current payment to 2018 of $205,000
* Mint Hill: $175,000 contribution
With this latest contribution of approximately $730,000 from the Towns, the Library will have approximately $23.3 million to operate its 20 remaining locations in FY2011. This is a significant decrease from approximately $32 million in County funding for FY2010; but an increase from the originally proposed funding level of $17.67 million. -- Read More
Report from The Globe: Four Boston libraries targeted for closing at the end of the summer won a temporary reprieve and will remain open at least through the winter, the Menino administration announced yesterday.
The city added another $654,000 to the library’s balance sheet, giving the system enough money for at least another nine months. The extra money buys more time to work with each affected neighborhood to make plans for the buildings when the library branches do close down.
“We’ve been listening to the community, and we understand the desire for more planning time,’’ said Amy E. Ryan, president of the Boston Public Library. “This extension demonstrates the commitment of the city to keep these facilities open and accessible to the community. We believe that with continued input from the public, a new use for these buildings can be found.’’
But the move did little to mollify some of the loudest critics of the city plan to fill a deep funding gap. State lawmakers who attended a library trustees meeting yesterday at the main library in Copley Square scoffed at the gesture by the city. They made it clear that they would make good on their threat to strip the library of what remains of its state funding if the city follows through with plans to close any library branches. -- Read More
It was the literary equivalent of a filibuster, a bookworm’s take on 1960s-style protest. Aliqae Geraci called libraries “a huge support system for the unemployed.”
A 24-hour stream of sentences and stories, spanning the canon from George Eliot to “Gossip Girl,” flowed from dozens of book-loving New Yorkers this weekend who were concerned about austere budget cuts to libraries proposed by City Hall.
Not typically ones to raise their voices (ed.-oh yeah?), librarians staged an overnight read-in on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza to criticize the city’s plan to close 40 branches by month’s end, and to reduce hours and employees at those that remain.
“In the Great Depression, the New York public libraries were kept open seven days a week,” said Aliqae Geraci, a librarian in Queens and a coordinator of the event. “It is a huge support system for the unemployed and the transient.”
Another organizer, Christian Zabriskie, put it more bluntly.
“We librarians have a saying,” he said with a grin. “You can close our libraries when you step over our cold, beaten bodies, chained to the doors.”
The organizers are hoping the City Council will restore financing to avoid the cuts, which they say will particularly hurt the city’s less fortunate, who depend on libraries for Internet access and employment help. The reading attracted more than 200 volunteer readers, twice the number needed to fill each of the 15-minute slots. -- Read More
We find this to be an implausible explanation given the remarkably large sums of money others and we already pay to NPG every year. The notion that other institutions are subsidizing “our discount” is nonsensical. If anything, other institutions are simply paying too much.
Sarah G. pointed the way to U. of California Tries Just Saying No to Rising Journal Costs
The University of California system has said "enough" to the Nature Publishing Group, one of the leading commercial scientific publishers, over a big proposed jump in the cost of the group's journals.
For the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system, there's at least some good news...
The Charlotte City Council agreed to spend $1.5 million to help keep county libraries open for the next year. But the money comes with strings, and the library officials say they don't know yet what difference it will make.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library system would need an extra $8 million to keep the current libraries open at already-reduced hours for the next year, according to library officials. But the city and county have only agreed to pay $5 million.
Library director Charles Brown says he's grateful for that, but the deal is far from done, because the city's contribution is contingent on contributions from at least four towns in Mecklenburg County.
Brown says he's received preliminary commitments from two towns and is "cautiously optimistic."
But even if all the money comes through, it will be less than the $8 million Brown asked for, and he says more libraries could close.
Here's the latest...
The first time proved to be the charm for the Scottsboro Alabama Public Library. With the help of librarian Karen Chambers in Woodville, Scottsboro Public Library Director Nancy Gregory applied for a grant.
“I wouldn’t even had known about it if it wasn’t for Karen,” said Gregory.
Gregory’s application paid off as she learned earlier this week the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded a $3,000 summer reading grant to the Scottsboro Public Library.
“We are very excited,” said Gregory. “It’s just amazing that they are sending us that much money.”
Dollar General Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling said the summer reading grant aims to help libraries and nonprofit organizations with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs.
“The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is inspired by the work Scottsboro Public Library is doing to help children continue their education and improve their literacy skills during the summer,” said Dreiling.
WAYNE NJ — Hundreds gathered at the State House Annex in Trenton recently to oppose Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to cut 74 percent of funding for the state library system, an action many believe will be nothing less than devastating.
Library patrons from across New Jersey voiced their concerns over the proposed cuts via 60,000 orange postcards hand delivered the day of the rally including 5,000 from the Wayne Public Library and its Preakness branch. Employees from the Valley Road location joined forces with over 650 people who filled the annex courtyard to help spread the message that "libraries matter."
"I feel we needed to do our part because these cuts being proposed would be disastrous," said Doreen Shoba, head of the reference department at the Wayne Public Library.
Included in the cuts would be the elimination of all statewide library programs and services. New Jersey stands to lose roughly $4.5 million in federal funding leaving clientele severely impacted. Amongst the biggest losses will be access to electronic databases such as RefUSA and EBSCO, as well as the statewide interlibrary loan and delivery service. Many libraries including Wayne could also lose access to the Internet as well.