I was reading the latest issue of AL Direct. Several stories jumped out at me, but this is the first I will blog. It is about the funding issues facing the Hartford (CT) Public Library. But first some background.
Over half of the "public" libraries in Connecticut are not municipal libraries. What? I can hear my non-New England colleagues cry. Well, in Connecticut, and other primarily New England states, there is a tradition of having public library service provided by an organization which is a legally incorporated, tax-exempt [501(c)3, usually] corporation. Besides Hartford, other notable cities in Connecticut with this arrangement include Stamford, Darien, Wilton, New Canaan, Redding [the Mark Twain Library], and many others. Each community has a unique history and different level of funding. I am intimately familiar since I was the Library Director for the Wilton Library Association for almost a decade.
So, the Hartford Courant ran a story that the City wants to take over the public library because the Library Board is closing two branches. Well, HELLO!!! The reason why is that there is not enough money!!!
Look at what is happening in Bridgeport, which is, by the way, the LARGEST city in Connecticut by population! Here is the Library Journal article (which is not the latest news, but the latest I could find using the Connecticut Post's inadequate web site and search engine).
I have news for Eddie Perez and other mayors/city managers. It costs money to keep the Library open. If you don't provide the money, choices will be made. They are hard choices. They are not what Library staff members want to do.
AFTER YEARS AND YEARS OF BUDGET CUTS, THERE IS NO FAT IN LIBRARY BUDGETS, AND IF YOU CUT FUNDS, HOURS MUST BE CUT!!!
That last is in bold, italics, and all caps because I am trying to yell!