ALA president responds to proposed library budget cuts in Connecticut

Contact: Macey Morales

ALA PIO Media Relations



For Immediate Release

June 30, 2009

Public, school, academic libraries would face an annual $ 5.5 million cut in library aid

CHICAGO – Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell recently unveiled her
proposed budget for fiscal years 2009-2011. The proposed budget would eliminate more than $5.5 million from the state library’s budget for statewide library services, resulting in the elimination or reduction of book purchases, state-wide databases, public library grants, book and supply discounts, computer access and funding for interlibrary loan service.

“According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2009 State of America’s Libraries Report, Americans visited their libraries nearly 1.4 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items in the past year, an increase of more than 10 percent in both checked out items and library visits, compared to data from the last economic downturn in 2001.

“We understand that in a recession difficult choices must be made, but libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically,” said ALA President Jim Rettig. “The Governor’s proposed budget will surely have a negative impact on the economical wellbeing of the state. Libraries are the key to getting Americans back on their feet, serving the needs of a growing number of job seekers.

“How can Connecticut combat the recession if its leaders take away free access to employment resources? In every part of the country, library staff report that record numbers are turning to library computers and Internet access to find work, apply for jobs online, type resumes and cover letters and open e-mail accounts.

“It is alarming that the countless of children and families in Connecticut who count on library resources will lose access to resources that help them better their lives in these very difficult economic times.

“I encourage the citizens of Connecticut to contact the Governor’s office to express their opposition to the proposed cuts, and urge Connecticut’s legislators to reject the Governor’s plan.”

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