Sunday, March 14, 2010

Elimination of State Funding to Florida's Libraries Will Have Biggest Impact on Rural Counties

Link to March 12 Tampa Tribune article, "Lawmakers propose eliminating state funding for libraries".

Excerpt:   Across Florida, public libraries are receiving $21.3 million from the state this year, reflecting cuts of more than 30 percent since 2001. Earlier this week, budget chairmen in the House and Senate proposed to cut the funding entirely.

In Hillsborough County alone, that would mean losing $910,388. The cuts would take effect for the next fiscal year that starts July 1.

The impact of the cuts -- if they take effect -- will vary across the state. In Hillsborough, the cut represents only about 2 percent of the total library system budget, which relies mostly on tax dollars derived through the local taxing district for libraries.

But Joe Stines, who has headed the county library system for 18 years, said the cut will nonetheless "hurt very bad" because the 26-library system has relied on the state grant each year to boost its shrinking budget for books and other lending materials.

In the smallest and most rural counties, libraries depend on that state aid to pay staff and keep the lights on. According to the Department of State, which oversees the state's libraries, 12 Florida counties rely on annual state grants to cover anywhere from 40 percent to 80 percent of their budgets.  
[Emphasis added.]

Related article:

Florida's $21.2 Million Aid to Public Libraries on Chopping Block.  (2/12/2010)

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