First Posted: 10/21/2009
With the 2009-2010 budget now in place, I am proud to thank you for your extraordinary and sustained advocacy over the long months of this historically difficult budget cycle. Though the budget result does not adequately reflect your efforts, your advocacy did provide information to many in the legislative and executive branches about the traditional and non-traditional role of the library and the many innovative and common sense ways the library community has risen to meet the challenges pressing on our communities from the economic recession and compounded by the budget impasse. The public library subsidy was reduced from $75,137,000 to $60,000,000 which represents a 20.1 percent decrease. This decrease, of course, will impact all library budgets as this subsidy represents 25 percent of overall operating revenue on average. State aid will be paid in proportion to aid received in 2007-2008. We are not using 2008-2009 as a base, as that year the District Library Center Aid was paid at the full appropriation level. The remaining categories were paid on a reduced appropriation following the budgetary reserves taken from the subsidy after the District Library Center Aid was paid. Each state aid payee will receive a 20.8 percent reduction of its 2007-2008 payment. The program budgets formerly funded under the Library Access and Electronic Library Catalog appropriations suffered a severe loss of 71.5 percent from a combined total of $10,542,000 to $3,000,000. At that degree of decrease, not all programs can continue and those that do will likely be scaled back. However, we have not made final program decisions as we want to consider all options and all possibilities in that process. The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation funds allocated to public libraries have been diverted to the general fund for 2009-2010. We are awaiting an interpretation of legislative intent to determine the actual impact on the applications already in process based on carryover funds. The Library Community has proven itself to be both resilient and resourceful. We have a strong history of maximizing opportunity and surviving disappointment. May this year become the floor from which we focus on the future and move forward together.