Winter 2001

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From The Desk Of The Committee Chair

Assemblywoman Naomi C. Matusow

Winter 2001 issue of Trustee

In the 2000-2001 budget the New York State Assembly and State Senate agreed to appropriate an additional $5 million in much-needed funding for our state libraries.  Negotiations over how to allocate the funds took longer than expected, as both the Assembly and Senate strove to find the best possible use of what is clearly less than what our libraries need. Agreement on the distribution of the funding was reached this fall, and I’m pleased to share the details with you.


Of the $5 million to be spent enhancing all aspects of library service in New York State, $3 million will be used to provide an across-the-board increase in Chapter 917 funding—a 3.4% increase over the funds allocated by the Governor in his budget proposal.  Chapter 917 programs cover every facet of library service, chiefly benefiting the Public, Three R and School Library Systems.  Funds are also provided to support targeted populations, such as children and the blind and visually handicapped.  The increase in funding to these groups will help provide for much needed expansion in library programs across the state.


An addition of $1 million will enhance the already allocated $800,000 to be used for the construction and renovation of libraries. While this falls well short of the monies needed to address the capital needs of our libraries adequately, it does provide some relief.  As state funds for library construction always serve as seed money, the additional funding will demonstrate how effective the state’s “seeds” can be in generating local library financial support.


Also targeted for an additional $1 million in funding are New York’s school libraries, specifically to be used to support technology initiatives.  Despite the many studies which demonstrate the value of school libraries in educating students, New York lags behind much of the nation in school library funding.  This money will enable all of New York’s elementary, middle and secondary school libraries to have internet access.  We cannot allow our children to fall behind as we move to an information-based economy.


I anticipate that in the coming year we will be able to point to the valuable programs and initiatives made possible by the additional $5 million allocated this year, and use the benefits of these efforts to bolster the argument for increased library funding well beyond an additional $5 million.  The Regents' proposal to increase library funding dramatically, while addressing the issue of unserved areas, should continue to generate a lot of interest in Albany this year. 


Lobbying efforts on behalf of New York’s libraries helped to make the $5 million increase possible.  I look forward to working with you to capitalize on the success of your efforts.  Continue to mobilize library supporters.  Reach out to all your elected representatives now to let them know how pleased you were with the additional funding.  Educate them on how much more is needed and they will respond.  Thank you for your support.  I look forward to seeing you in Albany in 2001.

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