I’m afraid I have another dire post about the budget cuts in my home state of Connecticut. This time we’re talking about library funding being cut. Fellow writer and library patron Patrick Scalisi has put together this post to show what’s at stake and how you can help.
Connecticut libraries need your help
Have you borrowed a book, movie or audiobook from your local library in the past year? Have you requested a book from another library or used your card at a library outside of your hometown?
If so — or if you simply believe that a healthy library system is essential to the wellbeing of Connecticut residents — then now is the time to act.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s next biennial budget, which takes effect July 1 and is currently being reviewed by Connecticut’s General Assembly, cuts $3.5 million dollars from the State Library System.
Specifically, the governor’s budget proposes to eliminate funding for the ConnectiCard system, which allows Connecticut residents to use their library cards at any library in the state, and cripple the ConnectiCard system, which facilitates interlibrary loans. Legislation has also been introduced that would repeal the statutes that authorize these programs.
To put things into perspective, the Wallingford Public Library has produced a great video explaining how this will affect ALL libraries across the state and ALL Connecticut residents.
The last time cuts like this were proposed was in 2009 under Gov. M. Jodi Rell. At the time, library staff members from across the state stood arm in arm with concerned citizens to have the funding restored.
This needs to happen again.
The Connecticut Library Association has made it easy (click HERE) to find and contact your elected representatives. The organization’s advocacy page also has downloadable resources, FAQs and talking points. Among the most important are:
* CT residents will no longer be able to borrow from any public library in the state
* Libraries will have to shut their doors to their neighbors
* Taxpayers lose due to ConnectiCard cuts. They saved $68 million in 2014 by borrowing and not buying 4.5 million items
* Cutting these funds hurts the people who need their libraries the most — CT residents who live in urban areas
* This funding helps libraries, already under financial strain, to continue to provide important literacy services (reading, financial and digital), access to government services and much more
* It will be near impossible to re-establish critical public library statutes once they are eliminated
It is urgent that you contact your elected representatives today and ask that funding for Connecticut libraries be restored and maintained. Let’s not lose one of Connecticut’s most precious and important literacy and educational resources.