On Wednesday, two committees of the Florida state legislature recommended removing funding for the Florida State Aid to Public Libraries program. This is the second time in as many years that this has happened. To compound the problem, the elimination of state aid would also mean that Florida libraries would no longer qualify for some forms of federal aid.
While a handful of library systems in Florida are independent taxing districts and could (painfully) weather this, elimination of state aid would mean that a lot of rural and city libraries would have to close branches, cut hours, and lay off library staff. Many rural libraries are already operating on shoestrings.
Do you live in Florida? Call your state representative and senator today and ask them to vote to continue funding for state aid to Florida libraries. Also, please ask them to stop this proposal from becoming an annual tradition. No brinkmanship with our libraries, please!
Update 2010-04-28: State aid has been restored! [PDF link] Can we not play this game again next year?