This week the Governor released his Executive Budget and it includes a cut to both State Library Aid and State Aid for Public Library Construction.
His budget takes back the legislative increases we fought so hard for last year and brings us back to 2015 funding levels. The increases received last year to library aid meant a stable budget for FLLS to carry out our plan of service and therefore resulted in additional advancements that might not otherwise have been possible, things like:
- Providing our libraries with hoopla, a digital media service
- Funding for continuing education opportunities our member libraries might not have funding for, such as full scholarships to the Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference, and sustainability conference funding
- Purchase of hundreds of eBooks/eAudiobooks to support the collective e-library collection
- An increase in grants to our member libraries, such as outreach mini-grants and special legislative grants
The increase to State Aid for Public Library Construction means FLLS had $517,102 in State Aid for Public Library Construction for FLLS member libraries in the last grant cycle. We were able to better fund large construction projects to our members, including the new library being built in Lodi and a major, multi-year project in Ovid thanks to this increase. FLLS is already aware of libraries considering major construction projects in the next year or two and any cuts to construction aid money would be catastrophic to these projects.
What does the Governor’s cut look like to our member libraries and our system? It will mean a reduction in State aid to all FLLS member libraries, a reduction in construction aid to our member libraries, a reduction in central library aid to the Tompkins County Public Library, and a reduction in library system aid to the Finger Lakes Library System.
One of the best ways to be effective advocates for state funding for libraries is through statewide organization and communication.
What are we asking you to do?
1: Call Governor Cuomo’s Office at 1-518-474-8390 (select prompt #3 – speak with staff assistant).
The staff assist will say hello, and all you need to say is…
“Hello my name is _________. I am calling from the community of ____________, and my family is an avid user of public libraries. I respectfully request Governor Cuomo increase Library Aid in the 2017/2018 State Budget to support the educational needs of the 128,000 library card holders in my community. Libraries and Library Systems are education; Library Aid must equal school aid increases. Libraries deserve the Governor’s support now more than ever.”
The staff assistant will ask you for your Zip Code, and thank you for your time and efforts.
The call will take 60 seconds of your time. And you will not be required to say anymore that what is written above.
2: Help build the New York Library Association’s list of trusted library advocates and speak up when calls-to-action arrive in your inbox.
Here’s the link to enroll: https://cqrcengage.com/alany/app/register?1&m=40701
1) Make sure that you are enrolled
2) Urge your network, colleagues, and trustees to enroll
3) Create opportunities for members of the public to enroll
The bigger that list is, the more signatures we’ll get when the time is right to make an impact. In order to make a big impact, we’re going to need BIG responses to NYLA’s call to action.
3: Write a letter to the Governor. We’ve composed a sample letter to modify and use.
4: Download and share advocacy images on Social Media:
5: Save the date and plan to participate in Library Advocacy Day, either in person or virtually, on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
Everyone can be involved with advocacy – staff, trustees and our patrons.
Today, we need your help more than ever.
Thank you for your consideration and for your support.