Libraries Fight to Save Funding

By: Deneige Broom Email
By: Deneige Broom Email

Tallahassee, FL --- March 29, 2011

Libraries have been a community staple for years and many can't imagine not having one in their county.

Some local counties fear that could become a reality if the state cuts their funding.

Tuesday, library workers from around the state made their way to the capitol trying to have their voices heard.

They fear resources their counties need, will disappear if state aid is slashed.

Scott Joyner represents the Wakulla County Library and says libraries are crucial for a county's improvement.

"If it [state aid] goes away our children's programs go away, our book budget gets decimated. It's [the library] become a community center and the kids especially come to us after school each day and if the library goes away, the kids are going to find something to do and it may not always be good."

A Senate subcommittee has proposed cutting more than $21 million in state aid to libraries.

The portion going to Wakulla County makes up one third of its budget.

That's big chunk rural counties say they can't make up on their own.

Natalie Bender works at the Jefferson County Library.

Bender said, "When you live out in the country, the tax revenue isn't as much as if you live in Miami-Dade so we depend on state aid to provide the vital services."

These reps also say, if they don't get enough state funding, federal funding will go out the door too.

Paul Clark is known as "The Library Guy" at the Wilderness Coast Public Library. He helped organize Tuesday's Library Day at the Capitol because he says these places offer more than just books.

"We're part of the job solution," said Clark. "Libraries have classes for the people. Computers are available, we have resume help. People can use the internet to apply for jobs."

"If you live in Tallahassee or Jacksonville or Miami-Dade, you can't imagine not having internet access," said Bender.

Libraries will have to wait until the end of session to see what money is budgeted for them.

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