ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 2001-11 > 1006977133
From: "Pam Cooper" <>
Subject: [ROOTS-L] SAVE FLORIDA LIBRARIES
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 14:52:13 -0500
I am forwarding a copy of an email that was written by George Morgan regarding budget cuts for Florida Libraries. It is imperative that we contact our Florida legislators immediately.
Remember when the politicians tried to discard the genealogy materials of the Orlando Library? Remember what genealogists did for them? They now have an excellent genealogy facility on the fourth floor with staff and a bigger budget. You can help us again. For those of you who are in Florida, contact, call, email your legislators TODAY. We need your support. Please do not mention the word "genealogy." <G> Just tell them how much you support your local library and if Jeb Bush wants to get elected again, he must support our Florida libraries - no budget cuts!
For those of you who are outside of Florida and visit us often, could you email our legislators and let them know that you come to Florida and use our libraries? Here is a list of them for each county: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Legislators/index.cfm?Tab=legislators&submenu=1&Mode=Member%20Pages
We want you to come to Florida and continue to enjoy our libraries and our resources. We have excellent genealogy collections throughout Florida and I would hate to see this wonderful resource decline.
Thank you for reading this.
Pam Cooper, Supervisor
Florida History & Genealogy Department
Indian River Co Main Library
Vero Beach, FL
George Morgan wrote:
The Florida State Legislature is in the midst of it's second special session at the request of Governor Jeb Bush, and their purpose is to continue to cut state budget funding. Florida's library system is in real jeopardy, and needs the action of all concerned citizens and organizations to help avert a very real crisis.
In the earlier special session this month, the Florida legislature cut $3,400,000 in this year's funding to Florida libraries.
On November 27th, Day Two of the second Florida special legislative session in the last month, the subcommittees have hammered out funding cuts and changes to the Senate Bill they passed during the previous special session. The issues will go before the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, November 28th, and the plan is to go into conference committee over this coming weekend. This action includes a critical recommendation to change $11,500,000 in recurring funding for Florida libraries to non-recurring funds. What this means is that these funds will not be automatically included in next year's budget; instead, they will have to be applied for, justified, and begged for by the libraries and the six Florida Multi-type Library Cooperatives (MLCs). These apparently are not the only suggested cuts under discussion, and both the Florida House AND Senate are hard at work with the budget scalpel.
The change in designation of money from recurring to non-recurring funding is a cause for genuine alarm. While it may not seem critical at this point, it is vitally important to note that the Jeb Bush Administration was able to balance this year's budget by axing the vast majority of funds in areas which they had re-designated last year as non-recurring expense items. Little known outside the library community in Florida is that initially, at the beginning of this year's budget review process, library funding as "inadvertently omitted" from the budget. It took action by the six MLC directors and the State Library lobbying in person in Tallahassee with the Finance Committee members to get this funding reinstated to the budget. It was cause for several days of nail-biting anxiety.
Should Florida's libraries lose another $11,500,000, in addition to the $3,400,000 already slashed, Florida residents can expect a number of vital services to be scaled back or altogether eliminated. Every population of users in your library is certain to be affected, and the genealogy customers are definitely no exception.
Some of the negative impacts that the Florida legislature's actions would have on all Florida library customers could include: reduction in library staff and hours; employee attrition; reduction in collection development funds to purchase books, microfilm, and CD-ROM products; cutbacks in the purchase and maintenance of equipment such as copiers, computers, and microfilm reader/printers; curtailment of cataloging activities that improve access to materials through the libraries' online catalogs; reduction or elimination of services such as Interlibrary Loan (ILL); reduction in the availability or the complete loss of special programs and/or free use of library meeting room space; compromised or eliminated programs such as bookmobile, large print materials, storytime, adult literacy, and other outreach programs.
Florida's libraries are an essential part of our communities, and any funding cuts or changes undermine the quality of life in our communities. It is essential that the genealogy societies immediately organize their members and their communities, and make contact with their legislators and with Governor Bush's office to express their concern over this critical funding issue. People need only express that they support their libraries and the Multi-type Library Cooperatives, that they do not want to see any further funding cuts, and that they are opposed to the change in designation of this $11.5 million from recurring to non-recurring funding.
Florida Librarians Serving Genealogists, please make contact with your local societies, your Friends of the Library, and spread the word to all of your customers immediately and ask them to PLEASE take action this week. The loss of any library funding compromises our access to important information and materials, and degrades the quality of life in our communities.
Librarians Serving Genealogists elsewhere, PLEASE be on the lookout for similar legislative activities in your own state. Your libraries are certain to on your legislators' short list for funding reductions and reclassification of funding too.
With the Federal government 'officially' declaring the U.S. in a recession, the pressure on legislators will be intense to find ways to reduce budgetary spending. Unfortunately, most legislators haven't set foot in a library in years and therefore have no conception of the importance of librarians at 'information brokers' within our communities. It is unconscionable to slash money to our libraries at a critical time when access to information and training in information literacy is essential to our citizens' maintaining a competitive edge in the world.
Now is definitely not the time for complacency or to give up because of past defeats of your efforts by your legislature and government officials. If you love libraries as I do and care, really care about your own library, your customers, your community, and the quality of life in there that your library supports, it is absolutely essential that you contact your elected officials ASAP and ask your customers/patrons to do likewise. Tell your legislators that you CARE about your library and the library services, that library funding should in NO WAY be cut, and that all funding to libraries and consortia should be funded by recurring budget lines and increased on an annual basis.
Please don't say, "It can't happen here." It's happening in Florida and it CAN happen to you. Please start making those important contacts now.
Thank you for your commitment to excellence in service, and for your attention to this vital issue.
George G. Morgan
President, Aha! Seminars, Inc.
|[ROOTS-L] SAVE FLORIDA LIBRARIES by "Pam Cooper" <>|