The Metropolitan New York Library Council receives 80% of its funding from the State of New York, and we anticipate that the budget crisis may affect our organization in major ways. In the coming months, we’ll keep our members and colleagues informed on this evolving situation and its effect on METRO and our member institutions.
Libraries have already contributed their fair share toward reducing New York State’s budget deficit. Library Aid has been reduced twice this year from $102 million to $99 million. Between 1998 and 2006, libraries and library systems received no increases, while other educational institutions received generous increases.
Now—at a time when library use statewide has dramatically increased and when the public is relying on libraries more than ever—additional cuts are being contemplated. METRO staff works closely with our State Representatives to advocate for appropriate funding levels, but there is no doubt that the voices heard from around our area will make the difference in the success or failure of library funding in the weeks and months to come.
We urge our members and colleagues to spread the word about the very real danger libraries are facing and to speak out as individuals and institutional representatives. Legislators are sensitive to input from individuals, groups, and institutions in their home districts, so please make your voice heard by contacting your elected representatives in the State Senate and Assembly. Let your elected representatives know how your community, institution, and constituency will be harmed by further cuts to New York State’s libraries and library systems. Remind your representatives that the library community has long been a shining example of regional cooperation, resource sharing, and the provision of cost-effective, user-friendly services that save tax dollars.
And stay informed about how the budget crisis is affecting libraries by visiting the New York Library Association’s home page.
Act now to ensure that libraries will be protected in the next round of budget negotiations. For more information or assistance in framing your comments to your elected officials, contact Robert Schmidt, Special Projects Manager, at: email@example.com or by calling 212-228-2320 x14.
In addition, mark your calendar for METRO’s workshop on “Library Advocacy During Critical Times” on Thursday, January 15, 2009 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). There is no charge for this event, which will focus on how to communicate effectively with elected officials about the vital role of libraries and the importance of protecting library services. More information about this workshop is coming soon.