by Brian Zylstra | January 19th, 2010
Gov. Gregoire’s budget proposal would ax $2 million from the State Library, resulting in 31 full-time or part-time workers losing their jobs. That’s one-third of the library’s staff. The jobs lost would impact the library’s reference desk, the acquisition and cataloguing of material and preservation of old newspapers. It also would mean cuts to the braille staff and other positions, including the lone children’s librarian, at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle.
If these proposed cuts become reality, they could also jeopardize federal grant funding for several programs that benefit local libraries throughout Washington.
Go here to learn more about the proposed budget cuts to the State Library.
The Olympian’s Brad Shannon has a good story today about how the guv’s budget would impact the State Library.
If these budget cuts are realized, it means the State Library will have seen a 36.4 percent drop in funding and a 51 percent reduction in staffing since 1999. This comes at a time when State Library usage has steadily increased.
Secretary of State Sam Reed made this statement about the potential cuts to the State Library:
“Over the past decade, the State Library has seen an amazing increase in usage by the public, both in person and online, but has suffered under heavy cuts in the state budget just as the needs are the greatest. The State Library serves the Legislature and state government, to be sure, but also the general public and the network of public libraries across Washington. The State Library offers important services for our vulnerable citizens, including the visually impaired and those who are out of work or struggling to cope during this tough economy.
“While more Washington citizens rely on our State Library than ever before, it’s been forced to endure repeated budget cuts over this decade. The Governor’s budget plan would reduce the library’s staff by one-third and could endanger federal funding for programs that benefit our local libraries. If the latest budget cuts stick, many local libraries would be hurt at a time when their own budgets are shaky and they’re facing greater demand. I realize we face a tough budget crisis now, but the State Library already has had more than its share of cuts. These latest cuts are penny-wise and pound-foolish.”