GOVERNOR BROWN’S BUDGET PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE ALL STATE FUNDING TO PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Perhaps you are aware that Governor Brown has proposed the complete elimination of State Library funding to all California public libraries in his budget recommendation to the State Legislature.  The direct and indirect impacts as well as unintended consequences of this proposal could change the way your local Palm Springs Public Library can provide services to you to the community. 

 Direct Fiscal Impact

The State Library currently provides our Library with two types of funding:

  1.  Annual PLF (Public Library Funds) funding based on population – currently $16,432
  2. Quarterly TBR (Transaction Based Reimbursement) reimbursement for interlibrary loan service to other libraries – currently $12,975

 This total of $29,407, while certainly not overly significant in terms of the Library’s total budget, would be lost.

 Indirect Impact

Should the direct funds be eliminated, libraries across the state will have to determine whether or not to issue library cards to anyone not a resident of their specific community.  As an example, the Palm Springs Library is currently part of a state-wide reciprocal borrowing program funded through the State Library.  Because we receive the aforementioned PLF funds, we issue library cards free of charge to any California resident.  If the funding is eliminated, we would have to determine whether we would continue this reciprocal and free library service to all CA residents, or whether CA residents who do not live in Palm Springs would have to purchase a library card.  This means that if someone lives in another Valley city but works in Palm Springs and uses the Palm Springs library for convenience, they would lose their borrowing priviledges from our Library unless they paid an annual fee.

 If the TBR funds are eliminated, our Library would not be reimbursed for the loans of our materials throughout the state and the United States.  Interlibrary loan has been the mainstay of resource sharing throughout the US for decades.  A decision would have to be made if this could continue.  Interlibrary loan is crucial to people who need resources not available in our area.  Last fiscal year the Palm Springs Public Library requested and borrowed from libraries across the United States approximately 2,676 materials requested by library users.  In addition, the Library loaned approximately 1,914 of our materials requested by libraries across the United States for their users.

One of the tenents of public libraries is free and equal access to all.  Elimination of funding for these crucial programs will quite possibly put an end to that basic right throughout the State of California.

 Unintended Consequences

 Federal funds, LSTA grants, are funneled through the State Library for the benefit of CA public libraries.  If the funding to public libraries ceases, the State Library would no longer receive any federal LSTA funds and the following could result:

  • elimination of all grant funded library literacy programs in the State
  • dissolution of the regional library consortia which currently negotiate group rates for reduced subscriptions to electronic databases and other products from which our Library directly benefits                     
  • elimination of grant funded training for library staff

 If this issue concerns you, as a Palm Springs Library user and concerned citizen, I encourage you to write to your state legislators to let them know that funding of public libraries in California is a mainstay of an educated and informed populace.  I will be posting updates to this issue as the budget hearings progress in Sacramento. 

 Barbara Roberts, Library Services Director, Palm Springs Public Library

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