Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Trickle-Down Effect

From Wall Street to Main Street to Your Street.

Link to June 25 La Crosse Tribune article, "Smaller municipalities brace for big cuts to state aid".

Excerpt: Shrinking state aid promises to squeeze all of Wisconsin’s municipalities, but leaders of the smallest say they’re bearing an unfair share of the cuts.

Towns and villages, on average, stand to lose 11.2 percent of their shared revenue under the most recent incarnations of the nearly complete biennial budget.The revenue cuts are driven by slumping sales tax and property tax revenue. But the hyper-local, bare-bones operations are shouldering too much of the reductions, town and village officials say.

And on a related note, the following report was passed along to me this morning.

I was talking to our village clerk this AM and she was at a League of Municipalities meeting ( I can't remember their official name) but it was statewide/state officials and she told me that the libraries were indicated as number one place to be cut in funding. I didn't know if you were aware of this particular discussion but I thought I would pass it along. ( a lot of the "reasoning" was everyone can get their info from the Internet of course)

A few thoughts.

First of all, if your city officials still think that "everyone can get their information from the Internet", you got your work cut out for your between now and when your municipality approves its 2010 budget.

Secondly, since the League's membership is comprised of 189 cities and 389 vlllages, I'd be interested to learn (1) how many members were at this meeting and (2) whom they represented.

And finally, if this was indeed a serious discussion, the follow-up needs to be enhanced preparation on the part of library directors and library board member for their 2010 budget deliberations. If library directors don't know which city/village officials are for library services or which are agin 'em, they'd better find out right away.

That's step 1.

Step 2 is building a network of community library supporters -- people willing and eager to speak up. And if you haven't done any budget disaster planning, I like to think it won't be a case of too little/too late starting up a local library advocacy program from scratch.

Whatever the case, you need to...........


Phyllis said...

It's worth pointing out that not everyone has Internet at home, especially not the high speed needed to fill out job applications and do school work. Where do those people go to use the Internet? The library!

Recently I pointed out to a county official that the library serves vulnerable populations by providing Internet access for job leads and applications, news, filing for social security, etc., the response was "I never thought of that!" It's another element of our story that we need to tell.

Stacey said...

While my husband was in the hospital following bypass surgery, his surgeon asked me where I worked. When I told him, he made some comments along the lines of "Are libraries really necessary anymore?" I took the opportunity to educate him on modern library services and the needs they fulfill in our communities. Never pass up a chance to advocate!

Colfax Readers said...

I'm a library director from a small rural library in Wisconsin and I was unaware of the possible 11.2 % loss in shared revenue. I found your information very interesting. Thanks for the link to the La Crosse Tribune.

You are so true when it comes to stepping up our advocacy regarding public libraries. It's not uncommon to hear comments regarding "why do we need libraries anyway when we have the Internet"!!! Of course the people that make these comments are non-libraries users. Frustrating isn't it?