Love libraries? Keep reading, we need your help.
April hosts National Library Week, April 12 – 18. However, this year the mood is not one of celebration but one of worry. The proposed budget for the state will eliminate 30% of the funding provided to the state library. This cut would deeply affect the services of the Clark Memorial Library, as well as the way you use any Connecticut library. The service known as Connecticard will be eliminated. This is the program of library reciprocity. Right now library card holders can use any library in the state. When a non-resident uses another library, that library receives a dime per item checked out. This is an incentive for libraries to share their collections. Smaller libraries and towns greatly benefit because we cannot purchase every item a patron might want to use, and the yearly payment goes directly back into book purchases. Patrons benefit because you are free to use any library and have greater access to materials that you want to borrow from anywhere in the state.
Also, the service known as the Connecticut Library Consortium will lose more than half of its funding and will be de-authorized. This touches Clark Memorial Library because the membership of this consortium consists of over 800 libraries. The Consortium negotiates vendor contracts for all participating libraries. Some of these savings are up 72% off the list price. The Consortium also runs professional development workshops and round tables to keep librarians growing just as fast library users’ needs grow. Without the Consortium our new website would not have been completed in-house, saving us at least $6,000 a year. The Consortium manages and runs the circuit which provides us with our DVDs and keeps us with a refreshed DVD collection. With all the savings the Consortium provides us, the library saved $19, 341.60 last year.
Finally state grants to libraries will be eliminated altogether. These are grants which help to fund programs and advance library improvements. Just last year Clark Memorial Library was in contention for a grant. Though it did not come through, knowing that there is money to help develop and grow libraries inspires investment in Clark Memorial Library.
Love libraries? Help save these services which keep us running smoothly. Write to your state representatives and consider rallying with us at Hartford on Wednesday, April 15 from noon to 1 p.m.