[Libs-Or] [Fwd: [alacro-l] ALA Seeks $100 Million in Stimulus Funding As U.S. Libraries Face Critical Cutbacks, Closures]

Suzanne Sager bvss at pdx.edu
Wed Oct 29 10:34:57 PDT 2008


Suzanne L. Sager
Oregon ALA Chapter Councilor

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[alacro-l] ALA Seeks $100 Million in Stimulus Funding As U.S. 
Libraries Face Critical Cutbacks, Closures
Date: 	Wed, 29 Oct 2008 13:25:46 -0400
From: 	Don Wood <dwood at ala.org>
Reply-To: 	alacro-l at ala.org
To: 	<alacro-l at ala.org>


    Washington - The American Library Association (ALA) is asking
    Congress for $100 million in stimulus funding to aid the nation’s
    working families during the current economic crisis.  Aid is sought
    to stem the bleeding of critical library services that help
    Americans with job searches, small business development, financial
    literacy and other essential assistance in hard economic times.

    Public libraries are facing the most severe cutbacks in decades as
    budget shortfalls hit cities, towns and rural areas across the
    country, according to the association.  From Los Angeles to Boston,
    libraries are cutting hours and services; some are even facing the
    threat of closure at a time when their support is needed most.

    ALA’s recommendation comes as Congress holds hearings this week on
    economic growth and job creation, including a Joint Economic
    Committee Hearing tomorrow.

    Public libraries depend heavily on local property taxes to maintain
    operations.  Across the country increased foreclosure rates, lower
    home values and fewer sales have sharply reduced available funds,
    forcing libraries to cut services and hours.

    “America’s free public libraries provide a lifeline for citizens in
    need across the country,” said ALA President Jim Rettig.  “Ensuring
    Internet access, career workshops, business seminars and other
    economic support services are vital links in the nation’s financial
    recovery.   This is no time to cut much-needed support, reduce hours
    or close library doors.”

    Rettig pointed to a recent ALA study showing that 73 percent of all
    libraries nationwide provide the only free Internet access in their
    communities.  In rural areas the rate rises to 83 percent, according
    to the 2007-2008 report on public library funding and technology
    access.   Many libraries are reporting double-digit growth in
    computer use this year, he said.

    The National League of Cities recently estimated that a 3.6 percent
    decline in property tax revenues is likely to affect city budgets
    until 2010.  In response to these budget shortfalls, libraries are
    being forced to cut back on hours or even close neighborhood branches.

    The Trenton, NJ, public library will close its four branches and
    lose about half of its 57 employees by Nov. 1.  The city of
    Milwaukee is considering closing two of its 12 branch libraries.  In
    Newton, MA, outside of Boston, four branch libraries closed this
    summer; four others in nearby areas also closed or are on the
    chopping block.

    Many cities are choosing between cutting staff and reducing hours. 
    Others, such as Fort Worth, TX, are looking at both, with proposed
    cuts of more than 100 library jobs along with reduced hours. The
    city is facing an estimated annual shortfall of more than $20
    million.  Additionally, a number of communities are also facing
    shorter hours and fewer days of operation in Florida.

    ALA’s recommendation for stimulus funding seeks support for basic
    library services across the country as well as specialized
    assistance to help Americans deal with the current economic crisis. 
    In particular, funds are being requested to:

    •    Expand critical employment activities and services such as
    resume development, job bank web searches and career planning workshops;
    •    Reinstate or supplement evening and weekend hours of operation
    at libraries to provide the greatest possible access to services;
    •    Promote financial literacy, housing counseling and small
    business development assistance; and
    •    Acquire additional resources and materials to help keep up with
    increased demand for economic services nationwide.

    Investments in libraries often yield high dividends for
    communities.  Studies show economic returns from salaries and wages
    paid to staff, construction costs, employment services and library
    purchases.  A recent Pennsylvania study points out that for every
    dollar invested in the public library, the community receives a
    return of $5.50. A similar report from Florida shows a $6.54 return
    on investment.

    “Economic studies demonstrate the positive impact of spending in
    local communities,” said Joe Matthews, an internationally recognized
    expert on library management with an MBA degree from the University
    of California, Irvine.

    “Known as the multiplier affect, every dollar spent in the community
    will ripple through the economy with an impact ranging from 7 to 11
    times the initial spending,” he added. “The proposed stimulus
    spending for America’s public libraries will have an enormous impact
    on local economies, helping communities across the country get back
    on track financially.”  Matthews is an acclaimed author and
    professor at San Joe University.

    # # #

To view this post in its entirety, please follow the link below:

Best regards,

W. Alston Roberts III
wroberts at alawash.org

Portland State University logo

Suzanne L. Sager
Library East, Cataloging
Portland State University

sagers at pdx.edu

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