ALA president Jim Rettig releases statement on proposed Ohio library budget cuts
Contact: Macey Morales
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release
June 23, 2009
Proposed library cuts largest on record
CHICAGO –Since January 2009, Ohio public libraries have lost approximately 20 percent of their state funding. Currently Governor Ted Strickland has proposed an additional 30 percent reduction. The following statement was released by American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Rettig in response to Gov. Strickland’s proposed library budget cuts.Ã
“A projected 50 percent reduction in funding for Ohio’s libraries would result in unprecedented national disaster,” said ALA President Jim Rettig.Ã “We understand that in a recession difficult choices must be made, but libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically, and are a necessity in efforts to get Americans back on their feet.
“From coast to coast, libraries have been first responders to the national economic crisis. They have been inundated by job seekers and users looking to better their lives through education. This also is the case in Ohio, as Ohioans are depending on their local libraries for free Internet access, employment services, personal finance resources, small business development and education and cultural programs.
“What will happen to the people of Ohio if their right to free access to information is taken away? The Governor’s drastic proposed library budget cuts are the largest in history and will impact more than 8 million registered library card holders.Ã Every one of Ohio’s 251 public library systems could experience limited hours, program and staffing reductions or, worse yet, closures.
“Libraries are so much more than bricks and mortar.Ã They are places where everyone - regardless of age, race or income - can come together, whether it’s for information, self-help or to find their place in the community.Ã
“I encourage all Ohioans to contact the Governor’s office to express their opposition to his proposal to cut library funding and urge Ohio legislators to reject the Governor’s plan.”