To the Editor:
With the new year approaching, also comes a new executive budget for New York State. According to the New York Library Association, in each of the last three budgets, Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly removed increases in funding enacted by the Legislature during the previous year. The Governor’s repeated $5 million budget cut to Library Aid hurts community libraries and the taxpayers that utilize and support them.
Despite the rapidly evolving function of libraries in meeting the needs of all New Yorkers, last year Governor Cuomo proposed Library Aid at just 1 percent above where it had been funded two decades earlier in 1999. In 1999, less than one third of public libraries had a publicly accessible computer – and today nearly every public library is the primary source of access to the internet for nearly a quarter of households earning below $50,000 annually.
With libraries being increasingly called upon to assist state government in its initiatives (the upcoming 2020 Census is one example), it’s time for Governor Cuomo to update his thinking and actions about libraries, and help support libraries with the needed resources to provide all New Yorkers with 21st-century library service. Libraries are a cornerstone of New York’s education and civic infrastructure.
Join me in speaking up for our libraries. Sign up as a library champion at nyla.org/advocacy! Thank you!
Kerry Cambria, Volunteer Member
Board of Trustees, Chester Public Library