Posts filed under ‘Funding’
by April Bunn
Times are rough for librarians in New Jersey. In the education world, librarian positions are being cut at an astronomical rate due to severe cuts in state aid.
I have been quiet here on Library Garden lately because I am part of the statistics- my position was cut- leaving our school without a librarian. I have been busy advocating for our positions with my teacher’s association and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.
While I’m shocked at what happened to school budgets in the Garden State in such a short period of time, I’m finding a shimmer of hope in the cover story of the May issue of the New Jersey Education Assocation (NJEA) Review: Keeping Dewey relevant in the digital age: Why books still matter by East Hanover teacher and author Ralph Rabb.
Rabb argues that with our help, books, in their original printed form, will inspire literate, passionate readers. His primary concern is that students are doing their reading online and not picking up hard-copy text enough. The new term for all this online reading is called being “e-literate”.
I was immediately hooked into the article because Rabb describes one of my major reasons for loving libraries since I was very young- the SMELL of books- “It’s absolute olfactory heaven.” He calls libraries “temples built for the love of books” and suggests that teachers need to take their students on field trips to the great libraries, such as the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress.
I take my youngest students each year on a trip to our public library and their excitement is contagious. And while my library is not a NYPL, it is still my temple and it’s still a baby. I’m extra sad to see it close* next year since I “built” it from scratch. The prior superintendent had a vision for the school that included a large library with an adjoining technology lab and they were dedicated in September of 2005. She’d be sad to see this happening.
*I said it was “closing” next year, which I consider the case, but my Board doesn’t see it that way- they think teachers taking their students down to “pick out books” and volunteers shelving books is keeping it alive. By the way, the technology department experienced no budget cuts.
You have probably heard the bad budget news for libraries in NJ.
Below is a message from Eileen Palmer about joining the advocacy groups that are already in place.
Please take a moment to join them if you haven’t already, and please be sure to talk about this issue to your friends, family, colleagues and patrons and have them sign up too!
To our many readers outside of NJ: If you have friends/family in the Garden State, please share the links with them.
Watch for more information and actions coming soon!
As NJLA prepares its response to the drastic cuts to statewide library programs proposed by Gov. Christie, and a renewed attack on the minimum library funding represented by A2555, please take a moment to join one or both of the following initiatives:
2. NJ Library Champions http://www.ilovenjlibraries.org/
Please reach out to Friends, Boards and patrons to become part of these initiatives so that we can get the word out as quickly as possible in the coming days.
Eileen M. Palmer Executive Director Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium firstname.lastname@example.org
This is awesome on so many levels that I just had to share:
I found out about this video from Sophie Brookover via Facebook. Sophie reports that she is planning to run the race — and perhaps even throw the race all for the cause.
I love it when a clever fundraising idea is promoted so brilliantly and I hope that this will be a huge success for Brett Bonfield and the teens who need a space to hang out at the Collingswood Library.
Click here for more info on the 5K Race and Collingswood Book Festival.
As you know, the Federal Government is spending. Yesterday President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion stimulus package. According to the President, “It’s an investment that will create jobs building 21st century classrooms, libraries, and labs for millions of children across America.”
Of interest to me is $53.5 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (down from the $79 billion originally proposed). This money is being given to state governments to make-up shortfalls in spending on education and government services. I for one will be sending e-mails to my state representatives asking that they continue to fully fund the NJ Knowledge Initiative and provide some of this money for public libraries in New Jersey. (To find your NJ representatives, this is a really handy site: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp).
For complete breakdown of the package and how it impacts libraries, the ALA has set up a very helpful webpage. I look forward to learning more about the specifics of the package and how it can help my library and my community, as well as all libraries.
Time Magazine has written a feature article on John McCain’s Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Below is a paragraph from the article that discusses her relationship to the public library while Mayor of Wasilla Alaska:
“Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” The librarian, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire her for not giving “full support” to the mayor. “
The full article can be found here.
What do you think? At what level should government be involved in library decisions and policy (i.e. we get our funding from them but does that mean they can tell us how to spend it)?
Go! Do it! NOW!
Support emergency legislation to remove municipal libraries from the levy cap . . . THERE IS A VOTE TOMORROW!
I just wanted to share the link to look up your legislator – it is EASY! You can look on the right side by alphabetical list, municipality, district, etc…
You get your district and you click on that to see the people and contact info.
I JUST CALLED them – I have always e-mailed in these cases but today I CALLED because I had just been in one of the webinars on WebJunction for the Spanish Language Outreach Program with some people who talked about advocating.
PHONE CALLS ARE MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE than e-mails!
It only took me about 5 minutes!
The people are nice!
They want these calls.
I identified myself as a librarian living and/or working in the district and asked for them to support the emergency legislation to remove municipal libraries from the levy cap. I said there is a vote tomorrow.
They already knew what I was talking about!
They took my name and seemed very interested to hear from me.
You either leave a message or talk to an assistant who takes the information.
REALLY – it took me less than five minute total for me to call three people!
Original message from Pat Tumulty:
CRITICAL UPDATE, MUNICIPAL CAP LEVY EXEMPTION.
We need your assistance right now to contact your NJ State Senators. Not tomorrow. Right now. Please ask your state senator to support emergency legislation which would allow an adjustment to levy cap calculations for local public library funding.When the new municipal cap levy legislation was passed this year, municipal libraries were included as part of the calculation for the levy cap.
This, unfortunately, created an inequity for the 245 communities which support municipal libraries. Communities which support county libraries have library expenditures excluded from the municipal levy because county libraries are funded by a dedicated tax and, therefore, outside the levy cap.
New Jersey League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Library Association and the NJ State Library have been working for a month on what we hoped would be a solution to this issue by adding language to state budget bill. Unfortunately, we were told last Friday, that this solution would not work and that we would need legislation. We must correct this inequity before July 1 because urban communities begin a new budget year on that date and would become subject to the levy cap. All other communities will be impacted with the budgets beginning on Jan. 1, 2008.
The Assembly, under the leadership of Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman, will consider emergency legislation to exempt municipal libraries from the cap legislation TOMORROW- Thursday, June 21.
We have every indication that there is support for this legislation.We are less certain of Senate approval, and we have learned that the Senate will cancel next week’s scheduled meetings and recess for the Summer. Therefore, it is imperative that this legislation pass tomorrow.
We must have this emergency legislation enacted in the Senate before the Legislature goes on summer break. Please contact your State Senator’s legislative office today and tell them you support emergency legislation to remove municipal libraries from the levy cap and that it must be enacted before summer recess.
Pat Tumulty, Executive Director
New Jersey Library Association