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Secretary of State trying to save the libraries

by Dara Kam | April 23rd, 2010

Lantana Road Branch Library (Palm Beach County Library System)

Lantana Road Branch Library (Palm Beach County Library System)

Secretary of State Kurt Browning pounding the Capitol halls today with one thing on his mind: saving the state’s libraries.

“This is a good government issue. This is motherhood and apple pies, public libraries,” said Browning.

He’s about halfway there.

State lawmakers originally scrubbed all funding – $21.2 million – for public libraries from the budget.

But during negotiations between the House and the Senate, the House has put in about $11 million and the Senate slightly more with $13 million.

That’s still not enough to reach the $21.2 million required to draw down about $9 million in federal aid. The state and federal funds keep the libraries in small counties alive and help purchase new books and other materials in others.

With the state’s economy in the tank, more and more Floridians are turning to libraries for free Internet access to search online for jobs and assistance.

The extra money for the libraries – about $10 million – is a drop in the bucket for the state’s $68 billion budget.

“I know money’s tough and I know money’s tight but you’re talking about some library systems that are so dependent on those state dollars” including the one in rural Hardee County that happens to be in Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander’s district, Browning pointed out.

“We need to have these libraries funded. So yes, we’re working on it.”

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4 Responses to “Secretary of State trying to save the libraries”

  1. Don't Drink the Cool Aid Says:

    Cut the budget. Many library have turned into community centers with costly programs that have nothing to do with reading, research or media in general. They have the money to cut. Don’t be fooled.

  2. Library Supporter Says:

    Public libraries generate 8 dollars in value to the economy for every 1 dollar spent on them. They help those hit hardest by this recession, such as the laid off father who needs to find a job and his children who take home books for homework and reading assignments. Public libraries across Florida have already cut as much as they can. Library closings are next if the budget is cut. Don’t let the Florida government shut down libraries and lead us into an age of ignorance.

  3. LibraryEmployee Says:

    Full disclosure: I work at a Florida Public Library. Our budget was cut 11% last year, and the workforce has been cut 24% in that same time. The only thing left to do is to close libraries or curtail hours. I did not get a raise last year, won’t get one this year or next year either. It’s kind of hard to make ends meet on $9.84 an hour.

  4. Dennis Says:

    There will have to be cutbacks. It’s simple. The government can’t be all things to everyone.

    When you eat too much, you’ve got to go on a diet.

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