Happy National Library Week! Everything seems to be looking up at the moment. Usage of the Library is increasing by almost every metric we can use to measure it. I often get asked the question, "Aren't library's becoming obsolete?" The data-driven answer to that question is a resounding no.
Our state government, however, seems to be determined to starve libraries into obsolescence. Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee released their FY17 budget. Many line items affecting our Library's budget have been level funded. Given that they have been continuously cut in previous years, the effects are beginning to hit hard. State spending on libraries peaked fifteen years ago! Library spending is a mere .07% of the state budget.
Fortunately, some representatives are stepping up to propose amendments to these line items:
- Representative Mary Keefe is sponsoring and amendment to 7000-9101 (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners) which is currently funded at 12% below 2001 levels.
- Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing is sponsoring an amendment to 7000-9401 (State Aid to Regional Libraries) which is currently funded at 44% below its high point in 2002.
- Representative Paul Brodeur is sponsoring an amendment to 7000-9506 (Technology and Resource Sharing) which is currently funded at 52% of its level in 2001.
- Representative Kate Hogan is sponsoring an amendment to 7000-9501 (State Aid to Public Libraries) which is currently funded at 10% below its level in 2009.
State representatives have until noon on Friday to sign on to co-sponsor amendments. Now is the time to contact them if you want them to take action.
Simon Fairfield Public Library