Saturday, March 6, 2010

Illinois Library Systems Still Await the Remaining 65% of Their State Funding

Link to March 3 Chicago Tribune article, "Illinois libraries waiting for state to pay up".

Excerpt: [Gail] Bush [, a trustee with the Evanston Public Library and president-elect of the Illinois Library Association, a statewide advocacy organization] and other experts from north suburban libraries met earlier this month in Buffalo Grove with state legislators to discuss the bleak financial picture and possible remedies.

The North Suburban Library System, or NSLS, is one of nine regional library systems that form the cooperative state library system. Based in Wheeling, the NSLS includes more than 650 member libraries that serve more than 2 million people in 83 communities in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Officials said the group has received only 35 percent of its annual budget of nearly $2 million.

At the same time, the cooperative Illinois Library Systems also has received only 35 percent of its total annual budget and is waiting for the remaining 65 percent due — $10 million.

Cynthia Fuerst, director of the Vernon Area Public Library District in Lincolnshire, a member library of the NSLS, gave an emotional plea for help to the more than dozen legislators who attended

"Our library systems are being starved to death," said Fuerst, her voice cracking. "Funding for library systems has not increased since 1993. Even in the good economic times that our state has had in the mid-1990s and late '90s, library systems did not see one dollar increase in their funding."

The Illinois Library Association endorses an income tax increase to support the services the state needs to provide.

Related articles:

State funding shortage may doom library systems. (2/14/2010)

"Save Illinois Libraries" Campaign Shakes Loose Some Funds. (1/22/2010)

Save Illinois Libraries: Tweeting Up a Storm of Support. (1/20/2010)

Sarah Long: Illinois Regional Library Systems and Boiling Frogs. (1/13/2010)

lllinois Regional Multi-Type Library Systems Hit with Cut in Funding. (8/13/2009)

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