Trustee

Fall 2010

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.

LTA Legislative Recap

By Francis Picart, Chair of the LTA Legislation and Policy Committee

Fall 2010 issue of Trustee

Greetings, LTA members. I’m pleased to provide a summary of where our libraries stand with library legislation and funding issues. While the figures present a gloomy picture, we saw some progress made during this year’s legislative sessions.

 

In recent years, State support for libraries has decreased significantly, falling six times in the last three years by 20%. The 2010 budget presented another reduction of $2.4 million, bringing funding below 1998 levels. That was recently reduced further by $833,334.00 in the 2010-2011 NYS budget with funds going into an FMAP Contingency Allocation Plan or “Lock Box.” If the State develops a surplus, some promised funds may return. In addition to direct cuts, many libraries and systems have received NO State aid yet this year, or funds may only recently have begun to arrive. For many libraries and systems operating on calendar fiscal years, two thirds of their fiscal year passed with no State aid payments.

 

These are difficult circumstance and raise questions about alternate mechanisms, sources or vehicles of state funding. LTA encourages you to contact your local representatives to encourage them to work with their leadership and colleagues in Albany to:

• pass the Education, Labor and Family Assistance (ELFA) Article VII legislation that would allow the distribution of library aid in a quick and fair manner, and

• pass legislation that would authorize the allocation and expenditure of federal stimulus funds for schools and libraries.

 

On the positive side for public libraries, one bill did pass this session. Bill S.3903 Oppenheimer/A.6154 Paulin would permit libraries and library systems to engage in cooperative bidding for products or services. That will allow libraries to save money through bulk purchasing and can be of significant help to larger systems. LTA extends thanks to Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Assemblymember Jonathan Bing (Chair of the Libraries Committee) for their continued support.

 

With elections just weeks away, it is not too late to engage candidates to gain their commitment to library funding. Personal contact from library trustees, patrons and friends can bring our situation into better focus and put a face on the funding dilemma.

 


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