Spring 2001

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

Legislative Update

By Parry D. Teasdale, NYSALB Trustee and Legislative Chair

Spring 2001 issue of Trustee

Will there be more state funding for libraries this year? If the NYS Board of Regents and the State Library have their way, libraries would receive an additional $95 million, including $20 million for new construction, $15 million for school libraries, $60 million for public library aid. The Regents proposal also calls for direct state aid to libraries for the first time.

The full $95 million won't win approval this year, according to sources inside the Capitol. But the Assembly is ready to spend between $10 and $20 million on new assistance for libraries. That might seem disappointingly small, but last year libraries had to settle for only an additional $5 million in one-time aid. The Assembly bill sponsored by Naomi Matusow, would provide ongoing assistance, and it has the support of Speaker Sheldon Silver.

No money will end up in the budget this year (or any year) unless both houses want it, and as of early March, not one additional penny was allocated for libraries in the Senate. The odd thing is that Senator Joseph Bruno, the majority leader of the Senate, has said he'll co-sponsor the library funding bill introduced by Senator Hugh Farley, who heads the Senate panel on libraries.

Only political pressure on the Senate from the public (read: trustees) can put library funding back on the table, according to people familiar with the process. They note that the governor also has to sign off on the budget, but as a practical matter, if the leaders of both houses of the legislature want money for libraries, they'll get it.

The questions now are whether trustees have any kind of political clout with their state senators and whether they're able to use it.

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