On Wednesday, multitudes of librarians and library supporters will descend on Empire State Plaza in Albany for Library Advocacy Day. State library aid is now at 1997 levels, which is $20 million less than state Education Law mandates.
Libraries are a core piece of our state’s educational system. Yet in a year where education funding increased 3.8 percent, library funding suffered a 4.7 percent reduction. Merely restoring the $4 million cut by Gov. Andrew Cuomo still leaves library funding drastically short of the $102 million mandated in education law, and reverses years of progress towards full funding. Despite the talents and dedication of librarians across the state, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide 21st-century libraries with 20th-century funding.
Due to the voices of 2,300 people who sent emails, Gov. Cuomo restored $4 million in library aid, but that still leaves libraries doing more with less. Library aid in New York state is down 20 percent compared to 2007 levels, yet the number of items borrowed has increased 11 percent. To put it in perspective, library aid is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the New York state budget. To fully fund library aid would require less than 4 percent of the proposed 4 percent increase in education aid. Join with other library advocates and make your voice heard by contacting your elected officials.
Go to our website (www.hmloneonta.org) for a direct link to send a letter to your representative. There are other ways to be heard too. Tweet your love of libraries to #NYLALAD14 or #LIBRADVOCACY14. Not sure what to tweet? Here’s a few suggestions:
• Libraries saved NYers $1.8B in ‘11 versus the cost of buying the items borrowed. Fully fund Library Aid. #NYLALAD14 or
• Libraries are the #1 point of internet access for those that do not have access at home. Fund Library Aid #NYLALAD14.
You can also find your elected representative on Facebook and/or Twitter. Post messages directly to their accounts.