Money Issues

One of Oldest Libraries Faces Closing

Sad Story From MA where funding cuts may force one of the nation's oldest public libraries to close its doors more than 200 years after it opened with books donated by Benjamin Franklin.

"It's nothing that we're happy with, but we're realists and we can see what the economic times are doing to us," Kenneth Wiedemann, who chairs the town's library board, said Monday."


Librarians Target Science Publishers

"Publishers of academic science, technology and medical journals are getting kudos from Wall Street for their healthy profits. The industry's $7.5 billion Anglo-Dutch giant, Reed Elsevier, publishes 1,300 journals and had 2002 profit of $271.5 million, up from $181.4 million a year ago."

"But the librarians who buy their journals are giving publishers their ire. Librarians only see rising prices and future cuts in what they can order. The average cost of a journal in science, technology or medicine jumped 215 percent from 1986 to 2001, says the Association of Research Libraries, more than three times the increase in the consumer price index."

"It's like beating widows and orphans for money," said Carol Mandel, dean of New York University's libraries." (from Newsday)


Public Libraries Become Targets of Budget Cuts

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.


Librarians picket against proposed cuts

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."


Budget cuts threaten status of libraries

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.\'\'


Library Money From Around The World

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.


On the Politics of Numbers

"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.


Library jobs cut; more to come as U-M trims staff

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.


More library cuts could jeopardize federal funds

"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)


Hawaii state Librarian criticized for response to cuts

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.

Full Story.

\"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.\"



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