Librarians in Connecticut are worried–and they have a right to be. The governor’s budget has proposed draconian cuts in a lot of areas, but libraries, it seems, have been especially singled out. Take a look at some of what we’d lose (from the CT Library Consortium) should these cuts stay in the budget:
Suspend Funding for Statewide Digital Library – iCONN databases, now free to public, school, and academic libraries, with over 30 million searches, are GONE!
iCONN is an excellent repository of not just academic databases, but cultural ones as well. iCONN, for instance, hosts the Hartford Courant digital archive, which stretches back to the 18th century. These resources are invaluable to schools and public libraries around the state.
Suspend Funding for Connecticard Payments – CCard, which now reimburses municipal libraries for the 4.7 million transactions when they lend library materials to out-of-towners annually, is GONE!
I often travel to other libraries to borrow books, and just to look around. I can easily check out materials with my Enfield library card. If this cut goes through, this service will disappear. Another cut would drastically reduce funding for interlibrary loan, meaning that users would largely be limited to only what their own town’s library had on the shelves.
There are many more cuts, but these are the worst of them.
As I’ve said before, in hard times libraries become invaluable resources. Many people use them to look for jobs, to better educate themselves, or simply to find entertainment that doesn’t cost money. Schools rely on the state’s online library resources–to cut those would be a terrible loss. Libraries are government services that work.
As a librarian myself (though I don’t work in a public library), these proposed cuts are pretty appalling. I hope they don’t have a chance of cutting. Libraries and library services are worth preserving, especially now.
There’s been some news of a rally in Hartford this Friday to protest the cuts. I’ll post more if and when I find out more information.