Colorado State Library Sustains Budget Blowsby Nancy Bolt
Colorado State Librarian
When the Colorado 2003 legislative session ended, libraries were pleased with the results. Two of our largest programs— regional cooperatives and our Colorado Resource Center at the Denver Public Library—both received increases of 4.8 percent. Our other major programs—state funding and payment for lending—received the same funding as the previous year. One program— County Equalization—was eliminated, but the program had basically been replaced by the state funding for libraries program. So the legislators went home.
However, they passed the bill too late in the session and left town before the Governor had signed it. The Governor decided the legislature had been too generous and began cutting, line by line. The State Library programs were severely cut, 50 percent of our total budget, $4.4 million in all. He totally eliminated state funding for libraries ($2 million) and the Colorado Resource Center at the Denver Public Library ($2.3 million) and payment of lending (our ILL program at $140,000). This has dramatically wounded Colorado's resource sharing program.
At this writing, it is still unclear how libraries will respond to the cuts. Clearly, the legislature needs to know the impact. The Colorado Association of Libraries is now working to develop strategies to get the cuts restored.