From annual appeals, planned giving, and partnerships to events, libraries’ fundraising efforts do much more than make up gaps. Libraries of every size, in communities of all kinds, can develop fundraising strategies to meet a wide range of programming, collection development, and building needs and provide a chance to try things that public money might not cover such as new services, training, or temporary staff. But this adaptability requires ongoing maintenance of approaches, databases, and—most of all—relationships.
With book budgets being chipped away by price increases for serial subscriptions, and ebook budgets feeling the squeeze from journals, librarians are spending more time seeking ways to relieve this financial pressure. But a model of fiscal efficiency does exist—Down Under. “Australian libraries have been sort of the canary in the coal mine when it […]
Last month, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a series of articles on the status of public libraries in the UK. The news is dramatic. More than 300 libraries have been closed since 2010—the reported total of 343 includes 132 mobile libraries, with over 100 more on the chopping block—and almost 8,000 jobs have been lost. The advocacy drumbeat for UK libraries has been sounding for some time, with prominent authors and celebrities offering their support. Staring down the numbers reported by the BBC has spurred a barrage of public and professional response—some reinforcing negative stereotypes and others helping to build the case for more investment.
Kansas library professionals, forced to mobilize quickly and using social media to rally support and spread their message, convinced lawmakers to remove language from a fast-tracked tax bill that they said threatened the survival of the state’s seven regional systems and, in turn, promised a trickle-down reduction in services for public libraries.
On March 15, the Plainfield Public Library District (PPLD), IL, failed to pass two referenda—a bond measure and a property tax increase—needed to raise money for a new library building. The ticket fell victim to a Vote No campaign consisting of mailers and last-minute robocalls funded by Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a right-wing super PAC (political action committee) with an antitax agenda. Behind AFP lies tens of thousands of dollars from the billionaire Koch brothers, lifelong Libertarians who heavily oppose taxes, social services, and industrial oversight, among other government functions.
President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget request to the U.S. Congress, released on February 9 by the U.S. Government Publishing Office and the Office of Management and Budget, included $230,000,000 for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Of the total FY17 appropriations request for IMLS, $228,593,000 is allocated for programs and administrative costs authorized by the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA), which comprises the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Museum Services Act (MSA). Some $182,429,000 would go toward programs authorized by LSTA: grants to state library agencies, Native American and Native Hawaiian library services, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, and National Leadership Grants for libraries.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has issued a $1.2 million grant to remake the Harold F. Johnson Library at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, as a Knowledge Commons—an integrated, centralized hub of content, tools, and academic support services. While the library’s transformation over the next four years looks to a brand new service model, it also continues the tradition of innovation on which the library was established some 50 years ago.
As the University of Connecticut (UConn) library system braces for a $1.2 million budget cut in 2016, a reduction that will mean the loss of 7.5 FTEs among other disruptions in service, a group of concerned faculty members say they are heartened by the administration’s apparent openness toward exploring new ways of plugging a revenue gap that shows little sign of abating.
In 2015, nearly 150 libraries in 24 states held referenda to renew or enact taxes for operations, staffing, or facilities. More than 1.1 million voters showed up at the polls in 2015 to decide on tax measures for their libraries. Just over 650,000 people voted yes and nearly 470,000 voted no. Of the 148 library ballot measures we have identified (through news reports, surveys, and direct involvement of EveryLibrary, the national library PAC the authors work for), 127 were won and 21 lost. One, while technically passing, actually rolled back the library’s funding, making it, in our opinion, a loss.