Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Budget Issues

I can't lobby on work time, but I can repost what the CT State Library's Division of Library Development sent out about the Governor's newly proposed budget, which cuts core services to schools and libraries, including their free high speed internet access from the CT Education Network & the iCONN program, which provides high quality informational resources to all citizens in CT, (ensuring that the state's municipalities have some level of educational equity, regardless of means and saving millions of dollars by obtaining the resources at a huge discount, through the joint buying power of the state). There are other very painful implications, too, so I'll let the facts provided below speak for themselves:

Fact Sheet about Library Funding Situation – June 2009
In response to the many questions we have received, I thought it would
be useful to clarify the various budget proposals and their impact on
library funding.  Please excuse the cross posting.

Governor’s Original Budget
In February the Governor released a budget that:

Eliminated funding for the service centers
   The Service Centers provide training, consulting, professional
development materials, early literacy and other library resources to 331
public, school and academic libraries.

Eliminated funding for InfoAnytime
   InfoAnytime provides 24/7 online reference service through all
libraries in the state.

Reduced funding for the Connecticut Library Consortium by $17,500

Did not include any new bond funds for Public Library Construction
 This program provides grants to public libraries for 1/3 the cost up
to $1 million for new and renovated buildings.

Appropriations Committee Budget
In April the Appropriations Committee released a budget that:

Restored funding for the service centers

Restored $42,500 to InfoAnytime (enough to keep it operating)

Restored $17,500 to CLC.

Governor’s Revised Budget
On May 28th, the Governor proposed further cuts in state funding for
FY2010 and FY2011.
 These were in addition to the cuts proposed in her
original budget.  In other words, if this revised budget were passed the
service centers and InfoAnytime would be eliminated in addition to the
following cuts:

Suspend funding for iCONN (Approximely $ 1.9 million)
 The databases that comprise iCONN are paid for annually.  If funding
is suspended iCONN will be shut down on July 1st.  It is estimated that
statewide licensing for the iCONN databases result in a $33 million cost
avoidance for all schools, libraries, and academic institutions in

Suspend Funding for Connecticard ($1,226,028)
 The Connecticard program allows residents to borrow from any library
in the state making many more books and other library resources
available at great savings to taxpayers.  The Connecitcard payments are
an incentive for libraries to provide this service.  Given local budget
constraints many libraries will stop loaning to non residents if they
lose the Connecticard reimbursement.  Last year, residents borrowed over
4.7 million items through this program.

Suspend Funding for the State-Wide Data Base Program  ($674,696)
 This line funds reQuest the statewide catalog which contains over 4.4
million titles.  Since it is a web-based service suspension of funding
for this program will shut it down and eliminate the ability of citizens
to search for books held by all libraries in Connecticut. 

Reduce Funding for Legal/Legislative Library Materials ($570,000)
 This reduces the materials budget for the state library by one-half. 
This line funds legal and legislative library materials and will
severally limit the State Library’s ability to keep its extensive law
collection current.  The collection is used by all 3 branches of state
government, law firms and lawyers as well as individuals.

Suspend Funding for Grants to Public Libraries ($347,109)
 These grants are classified as payments to municipalities. 
Municipalities must maintain support for their Principal public library
and the library must to provide core services to the residents of
Connecticut without charge.  Libraries use this funding for books,
technology, staff training and salaries.

Suspend Funding to Support Cooperating Library Service Units
 This eliminates funding for the Connecticut Library Consortium that
provides for resource sharing and discounts on books and supplies and

Reduce Funding for Interlibrary Loan Service ($82,000)
 This reduces funding for Connecticar, a program that saves local
communities several millions of dollars a year in mailing and shipping
costs.  The service uses both state employees and a private company to
transport the more than 2 million items a year.  

Connecticut Education Network
The CEN provides high speed lines to schools and libraries at no cost. 
The budget proposal eliminates this support and, if approved, the CEN
would either shut down or would bill schools and libraries for the

Additional concern
Federal Funds
Because these programs are used to meet the maintenance of effort and
matching requirements to receive federal Library Services and Technology
Act (LSTA) funds, the proposed state budget cuts could result in the
further loss of all or part of the $2,232,404 Connecticut receives
through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  LSTA funds are
used to support Connecticar, the Library for the Blind and Physically
Handicapped, the service centers, reQuest, and subgrants to libraries.  

Sharon Brettschneider
Director, Division of Library Development
Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT  06106
Fax 860-757-6503

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