Magazine article Information Today

Study: Libraries Lose State Funding

Magazine article Information Today

Study: Libraries Lose State Funding

Article excerpt

During economic downswings, communities often turn to libraries for a variety of services, from free research materials and web access for job seekers to after-school enrichment programs and career improvement courses. But despite the record number of people using library resources, the majority of U.S. states cut library funding in 2009.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) released a report titled "Majority of States Report Decline in Support for Library Services" that highlighted results from the "State Library Agency Survey" for fiscal year 2009. The report revealed a drastic decline in state revenues for library services, as reported by state library administrative agencies (SLAAs) from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Of the 51 agencies surveyed, 31 reported reduced library service funding from 2008 to 2009, with 32 states cutting full-time employees. In total, the SLAAs lost $34 million in state revenue.

Six states sustained budget cuts of more than 15% in 2009. New Mexico sliced the largest percentage--a decrease of 44.9% in its budget from 2008. Florida library services dropped $14 million between 2008 and 2009. On average, SLAA budgets declined 2. …

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