The (New York) State of Library Funding

Well, Governor Cuomo pitched his Executive Budget for 2019-2020 as a “Democracy Agenda,” and, according to the Governor, “Democracy” is just a fancy word for “drastic cuts to library funding for the third straight year.” Or at least that’s what it means from my perspective.

You read that correctly. The current budget proposes a 5% cut to Library Aid and a 60% cut to library construction aid, down to $91.6 million and $14 million, respectively. To quote the New York Library Association, these proposed cuts fail “to acknowledge the crucial role libraries serve in our communities, and the contributions they make to our state’s education system. Libraries ARE Education!”

Assistant Director Kristin Jeter and I, along with over 800 other librarians, trustees, employees, and patrons, took a trip to Albany last week to meet with over 80% of our local representatives to encourage them to restore our funding. But now that they’ve heard from us, it’s time for them to hear from you!

Rachel May, who can be reached by phone in her Syracuse office at (315) 478-8745, and John Salka, who can be reached by phone in his Oneida office at (315) 361-4125, are both new to their positions and might need to be reminded that their constituents love libraries! Tell them that you feel we are a valuable and necessary resource that save New York residents $1.5 billion annually just by borrowing our materials instead of purchasing them. Go to our website or any of our social media pages to find out more information about how to make your voice heard.

Want to help more? Tell your friends! Tell your family! Heck, tell strangers to contact their local elected officials and restore adequate funding for libraries next year.

Thank you for reading and for contacting our new state representatives.

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