Cuts to library aid are upon us and very worrisome. Governor Cuomo removed $4 million for programs from his budget (operating budgets, RBDB, Hospitals, CCDA, etc.) and $5 million for library construction. This translates to over $32,000 from SCRLC's budget and over $7600 in Coordinated Collection Development Aid (CCDA) funds that will be lost to the region's academic libraries.
By law, full library funding is $102.6 million--a level we've not seen for 10 years. Nor does full funding from 10 years ago begin to keep pace with the reality of 2017 expenditures. In the past 10 years, libraries and library systems have collectively lost $111 million in state aid.
The Governor proposes a $1 billion increase in aid to education. Our message to the Governor, Assembly, and Senate becomes very basic: Libraries are Education. Library aid increases must equal school aid increases. Library Aid is in Education Law and is chartered by the same Board of Regents that oversees schools, colleges, BOCES and other educational institutions.
What can we do?
Call the governor at 1-518-474-8390 (select #3- speak with staff assistant). Phoning is fast and each call is counted and added to the legislator's tally sheet for library support. Your system may have designed scripted messages specific to your area-check with them. Otherwise, here is an example of What to say:
"Hello, my name is _____. I am calling from (name of your city, village, or town). I respectfully request Governor Cuomo restore the $4 million in library aid and $5 million in construction aid that he has cut from the 2017/2018 State Budget. Libraries and Library Systems are Education; Library Aid must equal school aid increases. Library Aid is in Education Law and is chartered by the same Board of Regents that oversees schools, colleges, BOCES and other educational institutions. Libraries deserve the Governor's support now more than ever."
(If you are in an academic library you may add that the Coordinated Collection Development Aid (CCDA) is part of library aid and supports student learning. If you are in a hospital or hospital library you can tell them that the Hospital Library Services Program is part of library aid and that your health care providers rely on the resources provided for critical patient care decision making and health information literacy.)
Identify your legislator and call them as well.
Email- We'll compose a sample email for you to use next week.
Join Us at Library Advocacy Day on March 1 in Albany. It is important to have librarians and library supporters there that day. We're all in this together. Sometimes I hear, "I will advocate in other ways and prefer not to go to Albany." There is great strength and message in numbers. If we all stayed home, what then? Out of sight, out of mind, out of budget. All of the region's public libraries have buses going to Albany- you can hop one of those and spend time networking, not looking for parking. If you absolutely cannot attend, there will be a virtual component to the day.