In their recent budget process, the Mayor and the City Council made further reductions to the Libraryâ€™s FY 2010 budget because of a worse-than-projected revenue forecast that was announced in May. The Mayor reduced the Libraryâ€™s operating budget by $4.1 million or 8.9% for FY 2010. City Council, in their deliberations on Friday, further reduced the Libraryâ€™s budget by $7.3 million or 16%. This is a significant cut. Library administrators donâ€™t yet know how it will impact the Library. However, if the Mayor approves this budget, the Library will need to operate very differently than it does now.
We all know the important role libraries play, particularly during tough economic times. Use of the Library has never been greater. DCPL staff are committed to providing DC residents with the best service possible with the resources they have.
The RL Christian and Langston kiosk branch libraries were closed at the end of the day on July 30th. Collections staff have sorted the materials and they should be packed up and moved out by August 4, 2009. Most of the computers have been removed already. DCPL expects to turn the two properties over to the DC Office of Property Management by the end of August, 2009.
Our efforts as advocates for public library funding have paid off. All indications suggest that the District Council, led in great part by Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., allocated an additional $3.2 million in FY2010 for the District of Columbia Public Library. These funds are intended to restore library operating hours to FY2008 levels and maintain security services at the current FY2009 levels.
It is unclear at this time if the Council was able to also allocate the staff positions necessary to restore library hours and maintain security but this is still very good news. There are still hurdles to overcome. The Mayor has a week to respond with a line-item veto and the Congress has 30 days to modify or amend the District budget with their own priorities.
That said, thanks and congratulations to everyone that has worked so hard this year to demonstrate the value of our libraries to our communities. In these tough economic times. maintaining funding for our public libraries is a victory for everyone in our community!
As information becomes available, it will be posted here. If there is anything we need to do to secure these funds, we know that we can band together, fight, and win!
Please take the time to thank your Councilmember; let your Friends group know of this success, and enjoy the knowledge that our voices were heard and our Public Libraries will continue to be the safe, welcoming, and encouraging spaces we need in our neighborhoods.