The Governor unveiled his budget proposal last week and it was not good news for Library Aid:
Proposed State Library Aid: $91.6 million
This represents a 3% cut from 2017 funding levels which would mean a loss of over $70,000 in the MHLS operating budget and a reduction in the amount of Local Library Services Aid your library receives.
Proposed Library Construction Aid: $14 million
This represents a 42% cut from 2017 funding levels, which would mean a $378,392 decrease in available construction aid funds for the MHLS region for the coming grant cycle.
The Governor did not just roll back Library Aid, he proposed rolling back all legislative aids from last year with the exception of School Aid for which he proposed a 3% increase. The lack of full formula funding has taken its toll over the past 8 years, resulting in a loss of over $110 million in library aid. Libraries ARE Education and need to be on a healthy pattern of full formula funding with the same increases school aid receives annually.
It's going to be important that we have a strong state-wide voice in support of library funding this year. The New York Library Association, our lead advocate in Albany, will soon have a letter you can send to your legislators to advocate for State Library Aid. However, there's still work to be done right now!
Here are three things you can do immediately to help with this year's advocacy effort:
- Help more NY library supporters get enrolled in the NYLA Online Advocacy Center, numbers matter! The more people we can activate when the time is right, the bigger impact we can have with the legislature. Drive as much traffic as you can to this sign up form: http://bit.do/NYLAsignup
- Help us tell the story with photos and numbers! Participate in the Real People. Real Dollars. Campaign at your library! The Claverack Library is getting an early start on the 2018 Real People. Real Dollars. Campaign! They recently shared the story of local mom Bambi (shown above) who homeschools her son. By using their local library this family saved $4,739! And they just started homeschooling this school year! If your library would like to participate in this campaign learn more here: http://midhudson.org/real-people-real-dollars/
- Join us, and encourage others to join us, in Albany for Library Advocacy day on February 28! MHLS makes the day easy by scheduling meetings with each Assemblymember and Senator that represents our region and through arranging transportation. Thanks to the generosity of area Friends Groups the ticket to ride the bus this year is just $5! That's a lot less than it would cost you to park in Albany let alone the cost of gas! To register and learn more please visit: http://bit.ly/2DfPnSc
Stay tuned for more information on how you can help mobilize advocates and our legislators to support libraries in this year's State budget. Your voice matters!