Library Funding Cut for Fifth Time: Libraries Need Legislative Champions

January 19, 2010

“The New York Library Association is outraged by the Governor’s continued cuts (the fifth cut in two years) to New York’s libraries, which are an essential part of our P-16 educational system, a focal point for many communities, and part of the very fabric of our society,” stated Michael J. Borges, NYLA Executive Director.

“While we fully understand the severity of the recession and significance of the state budget crisis, it is at these most trying times that our priorities as a state become most important, and the Governor’s continued cuts and the apparent disconnect between Albany and New Yorkers who continue to support library funding through community budget votes and vocal requests for more help, clearly demonstrate our state leaders have a different set of priorities than the rest of us,” continued Mr. Borges.

“Despite record increases in library usage—especially among the unemployed using library resources to look for jobs or research new careers and families using libraries more to save on the family budget—we have seen record decreases in state library funding bringing our current funding down to a level not seen since the early 1990’s,” said Mr. Borges.

“In a word, these cuts are ‘unacceptable’ and NYLA continues to call out for a library champion in the Legislature, willing to stand up for all of New York’s libraries—really all New Yorkers—and vigorously make the case on our behalf to their colleagues. Who is that champion?” concluded Mr. Borges.

Brief History of Library Aid Levels/Cuts

2007/08 - $102.8 million
2008/09 - $99.9 million (two cuts totaling $3 million)
2009/10 - $86.8 million (two cuts totaling $13 million)
2010/11 - $84.5 million (proposed $2.3 million cut)

Library Aid will have declined 18% or by $18 million over three state fiscal years if these proposed cuts are approved by the Legislature. "We hope the Legislature, at the very least, does not approve even deeper cuts than the Governor proposed as they did in the DRP adopted in December, but instead shares their constituents support for libraries by rolling back the proposed cut," concluded Mr. Borges.

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