In early May, LJ reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed executive budget was set to cut $10 million in funding from New York City library systems. Library advocates rallied against the Mayor’s prospective cuts, and in June there was a massive turnaround—for FY16, the Mayor’s announced budget ultimately included a cumulative $43 million for Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library (QL).
When the University of Akron (UA), OH, revealed plans on July 27 to restructure the University of Akron Press (UAP) and terminate its three full-time employees, the decision was met with a mixture of dismay and confusion. As part of a campus-wide effort to trim the university’s $367 million FY15 budget by $40 million before the beginning of the fall semester—which included cutting more than 200 other jobs as well as the school’s baseball program—UAP editorial and design coordinator Amy Freels and print manufacturing and digital production coordinator Carol Slatter were given two weeks’ notice. Press director Thomas Bacher was told to take two weeks’ paid leave, after which he would serve out the remainder of his contract through January 2016. Associate professor of English Jon Miller was named transitional director of the press.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is celebrating a funding increase of $7.6 million dollars. On the weekend of June 20 the 84th Texas Legislature increased TSLAC’s appropriation for 2016–17, which includes resources to increase access to the TexShare and TexQuest database programs, and to launch the Texas Digital Archive (TDA), which will preserve and make available born-digital archival documents of the state government. In addition, TSLAC—which oversees statewide library and reading-related disability programs, as well as maintaining the Texas State Archives—gained funds necessary for staff salary adjustments and to implement a new automated accounting and payroll system.
At the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference, ALA’s United for Libraries division presented a well-received session, Getting a Bigger Piece of the Pie: Effective Communication with Funders and Policy Makers. A panel of three experienced fundraisers talked about what is and isn’t working in their ongoing mission to help support their libraries, offering a range of good advice to library leaders and fundraisers at every level.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on June 22 an early agreement for the FY16 budget, which includes an additional $39 million for the city’s three library systems across all five boroughs. The funding will enable universal six-day service throughout the 217 branches across the city’s three systems—the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), New York Public Library (NYPL), and Queens Library (QL)—as well as extended hours at many locations, and will translate in to approximately 500 new jobs. In addition, the de Blasio administration has committed to a $300 million ten-year capital budget for libraries.
(Editor’s Note: Virginia’s attorney general announced June 20 that Sweet Briar College will remain open for the 2015–16 academic year. The alumnae group Saving Sweet Briar has pledged to raise $12 million toward operating costs, and the college will release restrictions on $16 million in endowments. At least 13 members of the current board of 23 will be replaced by trustees, and the board will then appoint a new president. See the Chronicle of Higher Education for more details about the agreement.)
Facing a $1 million shortfall while planning the FY16 budget, the city council of St. Helena, CA, made several swift decisions. One of the most controversial was letting go of St. Helena Public Library (SHPL) director Jennifer Baker, who was released without cause on June 8. Although Baker, SHPL’s director since 2007, had submitted a proposal for a series of cuts to meet a proposed $300,000 library budget reduction that had met with approval in a meeting of the library board earlier the same day, city manager Jennifer Phillips moved to terminate Baker instead.
The San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) and BiblioTech, the all-digital library operated by Bexar County and also located in San Antonio, have reached an agreement that will let the county reduce its payments to the city by hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, instead reinvesting that cash in digital content that will be accessible to users of both library systems. The compromise marks the resolution of a funding fight that stretches back to last year, when city officials complained that the county was not footing its fair share of the bill for library services.