Library Advocacy Day

As noted in some of our most recent blog posts regarding changes to the Lakeland Library Cooperative’s hold policies, local libraries are facing significant funding cuts and are being forced to make difficult decisions regarding allocation of resources. Unfortunately, this isn’t a unique situation as libraries all across the country struggle to do more with less. 

Library Advocacy Day from ALA Washington on Vimeo.

Today, on Library Advocacy Day, we encourage you to advocate for your library and let your local leaders know just how important the library is to you. Your voice makes all the difference.

 Thank you!

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Written by Eric

Eric



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3 Responses to “Library Advocacy Day”

  1. Robyn Says:

    If Obama jumped off a cliff would follow also? Sounds like a “pass the buck” to me..If you have no money how come the Kentwood library is being rebuilt? How about using the money for books and holds for non-KDL members? Very unhappy with the current government…conservative vote here I come!

  2. friend of the library Says:

    The building that houses the Kentwood library is funded by the city of Kentwood, not by KDL. The money for the construction of the new library building comes from the millage that was approved by voters in 2008.
    http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2008/08/kentwood_voters_approve_plan_f.html

  3. Diane C Says:

    Robyn–
    Library funding in Michigan is very complicated. For example, according to our state constitution, libraries are supposed to be funded with “penal fines”. These are the fines you pay if you get a traffic ticket or if you are a truck on the interstate and weigh too much. But penal fines are being eaten away by other agencies. For example, a year ago, I received an $85 speeding ticket, which I was happy to pay, because I “assumed” the money would go to KDL (as I was ticketed in a KDL township). Sadly, I discovered only $10 went to the library, $75 went to the courts. Libraries learned years ago penal fines alone would never support quality library service, which is why we have a dedicated millage just to pay for the Kent District Library. Each community (or group of communities) gets to decide how they want to fund libraries and at what level. Some communities fund well, others not so well, thus the difference in services.

    The Kentwood and Caledonia new branches are both funded through a special millage approved by the voters of those communities only. As a Caledonia resident, I will be paying 2 library millages: one to KDL for books, computers, staff and programs; the other to Caledonia township to pay off the bonds to build a desperately needed new facility. In the KDL system, the local city or township owns and operates the facilities, KDL pays for the library service itself. Due to really strict laws, funds from the townships/cities designated for buildings **cannot** go to KDL to buy books or to our cooperative to pay for delivery and vice versa.

    State funding (which was reduced by 40% last October) pays for the library catalog system and the delivery system as well as $72 million of services (for which the library pays about $5–a really great bargain if you ask me!) The MeLCat system, online databases and other outstanding services have been available to many residents throughout the state because of state funding. Now that is in question again this budget season.

    Only our state legislators control the state budget. If you are concerned about library funding, PLEASE contact your representative and senator; also contact your local officials, be it city or township and make sure they understand how critical library funding is to you and your community. These are the people who control budgets.

    While the state funded cooperative cuts are painful, I’m grateful I live in West Michigan where libraries are still (relatively) strong. I’m glad I don’t live in Troy (north of Detroit) which is slated to close entirely next year, or the Lansing area, where if a millage doesn’t pass, more libraries will be closed. When my family’s income was cut, I had to cut back. I have the same expectation of my government, knowing full well it’s going to hurt me personally.

    Obviously this is a very personal response to your concerns. One of the reasons I work in public libraries is because I believe in them. I hope you will join thousands of others to be a Library Advocate.