Proposed Cuts to State Library Funding

It was announced recently that Governor Cuomo’s executive budget proposes cuts to library aid by $25 million ($5 million for general aid and $20 million for construction grant aid). Sound familiar? This exact scenario has played out (albeit with different figures) year after year, forcing library advocates to assemble in Albany and meet with their local legislators with the hope of restoring the cuts before the aid is (hopefully) restored to amounts comparable to those in the mid 2000s. Yes, you read that run-on sentence right. What we’re fighting for is a return to funding levels of 15 years ago. That’s the best-case scenario. 

To me, $25 million seems like a lot of money. But since the state executive budget exceeds $150 billion (with a B), the figure proposed to cut library aid seems like a drop in the proverbial bucket. So speaking of library advocates, I was very grateful to have meetings with Senator Griffo, Assemblywoman Buttenschon, Senator Tedicso, Assemblyman Salka, Senator May, and Assemblyman Blankenbush in Albany on February 25 for Library Advocacy Day. All were very receptive to the idea of restoring library funding, and if you happen to run into, call, or email any of these fine people and the topic of library aid comes up, please mention that you support it as well! All of their contact information can be found by a quick Google search, or I would be happy to provide that information to any interested party. 

Aside from funding restoration, we were also in Albany to ask our representatives to take action on a number of bills, namely eBooks for All, which would require eBook publishers to allow libraries and patrons equitable access to content. This bill is partly in response to Macmillan’s recent decision to restrict library purchases of their new material for two months, and then further limit access to the number of users per book, or years we own the license. There is more information on the budget and bills S.7576 and A.9881 online, luckily it wasn’t published by Macmillan so you can definitely read it in its entirety!

That about does it for this week. Thanks for reading!

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