Thursday, June 21, 2012

Public Libraries are Weathering the Storm But We Need Your Help

Strategic vision and careful management have helped U.S. public libraries weather the storm of the Great Recession, supporting their role as a lifeline to the technology resources and training essential to full participation in the nation’s economy. However, a new report underscores the competing concerns that face America’s libraries: cumulative budget cuts which threaten access to libraries and services, increasing demand for technology training, and the chronic presence of the digital divide. [MORE from Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study]

Birmingham's City Council will have many tough decisions to make very soon. At the top of the list are the distressing cuts proposed to the Birmingham Public Library System’s budget, nearly $125,000 less than last year’s budget and $800,000 less than previous years. The deepest cuts are concentrated in the library’s materials budget, used to buy traditional and electronic books, databases, music, movies, DVDs, and more. This reduction—coming on the heels of previous extreme cuts in this line item—is devastating. Additional cuts to supplies and janitorial services are also very serious and threaten the library’s ability to provide services in a safe and clean environment.

On behalf of our Board, staff and patrons, please communicate to Birmingham’s City Council members the importance of restoring the library’s budget to the highest level possible. Write, call, or visit your councilor to spread the word that now is the time to come to the aid of the BPL to help the library continue to serve Birmingham according to it's mission! Our city’s citizens deserve better.

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