Money Issues


Tonight, as I sat around getting tired enough to go to bed, I read a little story in the New York Times that rather puts the library employment situation in perspective. The dateline of the piece was Jefferson, Wisconsin, and the subject was wage givebacks by packing plant workers at the Tyson Foods sausage plant in that little town of 7,500 souls.


Two Stories About Minneapolis Budget Woes

Gary Deane writes spotted 2 stories on MN libraries. This One says Chris Dodge wants to close libraries. When discussing the effect of recent budget cuts on the Minneapolis Public Libraries, the current Utne Reader staffer and 19-year veteran of the Hennepin County Public library system says that closing a library in an affluent neighborhood would serve as a wake-up call. Dodge says that taking smaller steps masks the real problem: “Erosion of hours and services tends to be invisible and invidious.” After a series of public meetings, the Library Board has chosen to keep all libraries open, but the nature and distribution of services that will be offered are still under discussion. What will these “invisible” cuts mean for librarians, staff and patrons?

A Second reports the Ramsey County Library library's logo will be sold at a shop opening in the Roseville library to help offset an 8 percent reduction over two years in the county's portion of the library budget.


CIPA Smackdown

This has been an interesting year for California librarians. The recent Supreme Court decision regarding CIPA comes as the latest smackdown in a series which has included severe funding cutbacks and a continuing wrangle over the effect of the Patriot Act. For a library student, these past few months have served as a living laboratory of the connections between publicly-funded libraries and the larger society.


Saw the Librarian in Half...

Lee Hadden writes: \"Anna Quindlen has an interesting opinion piece in the June 30, 2003 issue
of Newsweek. \"The Bottom Line: Bogus. For most ordinary people, the tax-cut
benefits amount to less than zero. What the Feds give, state and local
governments will take away.\"
\"Public libraries have become the new poster children for governmental
impecunity. Pick a town, any town, and the library, that great nexus of
egalitarian self-improvement, is currently in trouble. Oakland, Calif. Swanson, Neb.
York, Maine. Richland, Pa. Closings. Layoffs. Shortened hours. Canceled
\"Step right up to the greatest show on earth. See a lady sawed in
half-whoops, it\'s the librarian! The administration says it\'s providing more help for
libraries, but towns have to cut library hours to afford police officers,
some required by Homeland Security provisions for which the Feds promised
reimbursement, now long overdue.\"

Yes, this is a dupe.


Private Firm Hopes to Operate Public Library

Gary Deane brings us this North Jersey Herald News story about the Passaic public library. In reaction to their current cash crunch, the city is considering a proposal to outsource all library services to LSSI. The article includes some discussion of the LSSI-run system in the nearby town of Linden.


Libraries may share services

Bob Cox writes "News From Detroit where Tight budgets and the duplication of services between nine southeastern Oakland County Michigan libraries have prompted library officials from six small communities to discuss consolidation.

Library board members from Berkley, Clawson, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Royal Oak met recently to discuss combining services to save money. Some smaller or older libraries in the area would close to save money in a regional library system, but all agree the idea is about five or 10 years from happening.



Changing public library funding

"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)


Oracle donates $300,000 to library

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.


Tighter Budgets Hurting Libraries

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.

Full Story


Could fees be the answer to library crisis?

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."



Subscribe to Money Issues