Summer 2003

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From The Desk Of The Library Committee Chair Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

Summer 2003 issue of Trustee

We have started off our first year together with a major victory in the fight for state dollars.  Working with libraries throughout the state, the bi-partisan budget of the Assembly and Senate restored all of the Governor's $13.3 million cuts to libraries.  This means that libraries throughout the state will receive a total of $88.9 million for general library services.

You should know that this item received more votes from legislators than all of the 119 line item votes cast to override the Governor's vetoes and reinstate budget cuts.

The proposed cuts would have been disastrous for our libraries because it would have resulted in the loss of matching federal dollars.  If the cuts went through, we would also have lost 15% of the federal money for library funding, with the resulting cuts in grants to libraries, summer reading programs, and NOVEL.

You deserve the credit for our success.  You have been good advocates, drumming and marching through the Legislative Office Building and onto the steps of the Capitol.  It was exciting to see the strong rally by hundreds of library supporters that was the first of its kind.  It made a big difference, as did your follow-up letters thanking legislators for restoring the $13.3 million in library aid.

This is no time to be complacent because we may have another budget battle on our hands next year, if the economy does not rebound.  It is so important that you develop a personal working relationship with your state legislators. I urge you to be constantly proactive by involving your legislative representatives in your library activities, asking them to read to kids in your summer reading programs, speak at events on site, and doing all that it takes to get legislators familiar with the important role that you play in your communities.

I have always had a special relationship with libraries, first as a second and third grade teacher in Virginia and New York, and later as a trustee of my local public library in Ossining.  And now I am so proud to be the chair of the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology and to work with a great support group.  All of our efforts will hopefully have a positive impact on libraries and library services in the years to come.

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