Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dear Library Patrons,

The library reopens to the public on September 1, and perhaps Connecticut will have an agreed upon state budget. As I am sure you know, none currently exists, and the prospects for the development of a document agreeable to both the governor and legislature remain dim.

What you may not realize is that the governor’s current version of the budget includes massive cuts to existing library support. The total estimated reductions amount to approximately $5,000,000, which effectively wipes out a number of essential services. These include:
• Reduce funding for interlibrary loan services by 30%, (-$82,000), which would result in a 50% reduction in federal funding, and potentially cuts in ILL personnel and longer waits for materials to be delivered.
• Suspend Funding for the State-Wide Digital Library, (-$1,968,794), these monies provide Connecticut residents with access to a wide selection of databases and electronic resources to support their educational, cultural, economic and personal interests.
• Suspend funding for Connecticard Payments (-1,226,028), this funding is provided to libraries who allow patrons to borrow and return items to any of the approximately 195 participating libraries. There are approximately 4.6 million loans bringing the reimbursement rate to about .37 per loan. It costs libraries an average of $1.05 to circulate an item. Any reduction in state funding will result in an approximately 50% in federal funding.

I do not mean this to be a definitive list. It does illustrate the deep and likely irreparable damage that could be inflicted on public, college and university libraries if the full implementation of these budget reductions does occur. I recommend that you visit Web Junction CT to learn more about the budget process, the reductions envisioned, and the extraordinary levels of library use being reported across the state. It would seem counterintuitive to reduce and eliminate the very small amounts allocated to fund library programs, given the increasing demands placed on those services by the public. Yet, that is what will happen unless the public speaks up. Please visit Web Junction and then let your state representatives know how you feel. In the mean time, my best wishes to you for the remainder of the summer. Please visit us on September 1, and thereafter.

Best regard,