South Carolina’s public library directors, confident they have the necessary votes in the state legislature locked up, plan to press ahead with efforts to see a library trespass bill adopted into law, even after a recent veto by Gov. Nikki Haley scuttled their hopes, at least temporarily.
The continuing struggle to fund library service in Miami, Florida, and surrounding Dade County took a happy turn for a librarians and advocates in this month. On Tuesday, July 16, Miami-Dade County commissioners voted to increase the property tax in the county slightly, increasing the funding available to the Miami-Dade Public Library System (MDPLS).
The hike would leave libraries with a budget of approximately $52 million for the coming year. That figure is short of the $64 million that advocates were aiming for, but represents a major step up from the $30 million earmarked earlier this year in a budget proposed by Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Most libraries know what its’ like to struggle with finding funding. Getting a levy or tax hike passed is hard work. Living through lean times that freeze hiring and stifle collection development can be trying. But when the rug gets pulled out from under you suddenly, it can be even worse. In order to provide some assistance when eleventh hour budget cuts come knocking, EveryLibrary, the political action committee devoted to strengthening the place libraries have at the civic table, is working on a new program with just these sorts of dilemmas in mind—the Rapid Response Fund.
I have a theory that too many library trustees are underutilized in their board work. In far too many libraries, fear of meddling and of losing control have meant that directors don’t take advantage of the expertise and talent on their Board of Trustees. Where that is true, library leaders are squandering critical capacity and losing a potent edge in the key task of connecting to the community.
Near the heart of a revitalized tech boom in Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA, is growing rapidly, topping one million residents this year. The San Jose Public Library (SJPL) will have plenty of concerns about how best to serve those new users in coming years. How to fund those efforts, though, won’t be among them. Earlier this month, San Jose voters passed a continuation of the Library Parcel Tax (LPT), which helps to fund SJPL operations, with an astonishing 81 percent of voters in favor.
Lobbying for libraries can be a painfully earnest affair. But not so in New York State, where the New York Library Association (NYLA) adopted a playful new strategy to reach legislators and their staffs where they may be at their most receptive—relaxing with a drink after work. NYLA didn’t break the rules by buying beverages for lawmakers…it simply provided a coaster for them.
While it may feel like the 2012 Presidential election cycle was not that long ago, we are already getting into the thick of the 2014 election cycle. Regardless of whether the decision-makers are at the federal, state, or local levels, they will be in a position to impact libraries. Thus, the questions for library supporters must be “which candidates actually care about libraries, and which are willing to put forward a plan of action to improve library services?”
Last year, the American Library Association (ALA), working with the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), established the new Center for the Future of Libraries (CFFL), a new program envisioned as a way to keep libraries ahead of the curve as they prepare for what’s to come in the industry—whatever that might be. That lack of certainty isn’t daunting the center’s new director, Miguel Figueroa. A 2005 LJ Mover and Shaker and former director of the ALA’s Office for Diversity and Office for Literacy and Outreach Services who most recently worked with the Association of Theological Libraries, Figueroa talked with LJ about what the future might hold for libraries and how librarians can be ready for anything.
In northern Kentucky this spring, the more things change the more they stay the same for the embattled Campbell (CCPL) and Kenton County Public Libraries (KCPL). After the state General Assembly came close, but ultimately failed to deliver a legislative solution to their longstanding legal woes, the library systems have little recourse except to wait for an appeals court decision that will help determine how they—and potentially the majority of Kentucky libraries—can raise tax revenue.
Over the past several weeks, decision-makers inside of the Capital Beltway in Washington, DC, have turned their attention to the federal budgeting process for FY 2015.President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have released starkly different visions for what our nation should be spending money on.