February 17, 2018

Arkansas PLs Suffer, But State Aid May Return

By LJ Staff

While most state agencies in Arkansas have suffered ten percent cuts, libraries have suffered disproportionately, reports the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; state aid to libraries is down nearly 90 percent, from $4.9 million in 2001 and cut to $500,000 this year. “We’ve already lost a lot of progress that libraries have made,” said Jack Mulkey, state librarian. “Now we’re stepping backwards, and catching up is very difficult.” For example, the Fort Smith Public Library cut its materials budget in half. However, a new legislative proposal, HB 1137, would restore state aid back to the 2001 level of $4.9 million. Gov. Mike Huckabee, instead, has recommended $2 million in his budget.