Libraries In Crisis
In case you haven’t heard the news, there are two major crises in public library land that are occurring right now.
We want to assure you that we are keeping a close eye on the developments and are in close contact with those involved to ensure that we are there to help as soon as we can.
Kentucky libraries are being threatened by a lawsuit from the members of the Tea Party that has the potential to roll back funding to pre 1970s levels in some library districts, and funding levels from the 1960s in others. For example, in Anderson County, the current tax rate of 8.6 cents per $100 of personal property value would drop to its original 1967 figure of 2.5 cents and Montgomery County would see its tax rate of 10.22 cents per $100 sink to 3 cents if plaintiffs are successful. This kind of funding set-back would destroy these libraries ability to serve their communities. It could set off an avalanche of similar lawsuits throughout the state and potentially harm nearly all of the libraries in Kentucky.
By now, you most certainly know that the Miami-Dade libraries were being threatened with massive lay-offs and branch closures. At its height, more than 200 librarians would have been laid off and 22 libraries would have been closed. With some budgetary work by Mayor Carlos Gimenez mostly spurred on by the public outcry and a rally of support from the community, this has shrunk to having 192 lay-offs and all branches open but with drastically reduced operating hours. While this is an improvement, it’s still not an acceptable solution and even more terrifying were comments by Gimenez such as “People have said that the age of libraries is probably ending.”
This is Our Call to Action
EveryLibrary is working towards building our coalition of library supporters and our resources to campaign on behalf of these libraries when the time comes. Both of these communities will be hard hit if we fail and they will be some of the largest fights that libraries have had most recently. We will require significant resources to overcome these problems and we need you to help in two ways:
1) Forward this blog to anyone and everyone you can, and encourage everyone to sign up to support us;
2) Help us build our capacity to fight for libraries by contributing to EveryLibrary, the only national organization that supports libraries at the ballot box at https://www.everylibrary.org/donate.