Secretary of State trying to save the librariesby Dara Kam | April 23rd, 2010
“This is a good government issue. This is motherhood and apple pies, public libraries,” said Browning.
He’s about halfway there.
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.”