As we all know the economy has taken a bit of a hit and nearly everyone has been affected one way or another. We're not sure when it'll rebound and can only hope it'll be soon. In the meantime we're all scrambling to find ways to make ends meet and those of us in the non-profit world are no exception. We need to hold onto what we already have while searching for other means to continue the services you have come to expect. I’ll have more on the latter in a later blog.
There are several ways the library generates revenue to operate your facility. State Aid has been one of them from the very beginning. When I first arrived here 9+ years ago, State Aid monies was available in two ways; one was to assist in county-wide services and one was a direct annual payment to the library of approximately $20,000. Well there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then with the results that we no longer receive any direct annual dollars and monies for county-wide services have dwindled to the minimum. And what are those county-wide services that benefit you directly? Here's the list:
- County-wide library automation system
- County-wide courier services transports material requests from one library to another saving you time and money.
- Free online databases
- Talking Book Library
- Born to Read Program
- Deaf Literacy Program
Putting it bluntly, without State Aid dollars, all of this goes away which would leave individual libraries to fend for themselves with their own reduced revenue. What impacts this further is that federal funds are attached to this State Aid to Libraries Grant program. Simply stated, once State Aid is deleted, so too will the federal funds. During the last legislative session this past spring, those invaluable dollars almost disappeared but through a state-wide grass roots efforts they were saved...to serve you once again. We now face a similar situation.
I ask you now to please write the Governor asking him to allocate the amounts suggested in recurring General Revenue for the library programs in the Department of State Budget. His address is:
The Honorable Charlie Crist
Governor of the State of Florida
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
It’s always best to tell your own library story, the one about how your library is changing lives every day. Please thank him for providing critical leadership last spring when it looked like State Aid to Public Libraries might be eliminated. You may also want to tell him that public libraries are helping Floridians with job searching and in obtaining E-Government services, and according to the Department of State, provide a $6.54 return on every dollar invested! I would like to think that's money well spent.
The only other suggestion I would encourage, is to contact your local legislators. Ask them to maintain the minimum State Aid dollars for 2010-2011 that are needed to meet the maintenance level required for federal funds. For your convenience, I have listed them below:
SENATOR MIKE FASANO
8217 Massachusetts Ave
New Port Richey, 34653-3111
Local phone: (727) 848-5885
Tallahassee phone: (850) 487-5062
REPRESENTATIVE TOM ANDERSON
2236 US Hwy 19 N (Mt. Vernon Professional Ctr)
Local phone: (727) 943-4760
Tallahassee phone: (850) 488-8528
REPRESENTATIVE PETER NEHR
905 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr, Suite 430
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Local phone: (727) 943-4880
Tallahassee phone: (850) 488-5580
There was a lot to say here and I thank you for taking the time to read it. I now ask you to invest a little bit more of your time and tell your legislators what you read. It would be a win-win for all.