Here are Tony’s complete remarks from the March 26th Budget Hearing at Seattle City Council Chambers. We hope you’ll consider joining us at the next meeting: April 6 at 10:30 a.m. Your presence matters! RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org Keep checking this blog for updates on the library and library budget.
I live in the Ravenna/Wedgwood neighborhood and I am with the Friends of the Seattle Public Library.
I want to thank you all for your support of the Seattle Public Library and ask you to preserve the current level of budgeted funding.
The Library is an important community lifeline for the residents of this city. The exploding use of the Library’s programs, resources and services has far exceeded every expectation. In this current economic climate, the Library has also become an integral part of the City’s safety net, providing all citizens with access to information and computer services that link them to city, state and federal agencies and programs. Everyone is familiar with examples of how the Library is doing more for all groups, the displaced, the unemployed, new citizens, as well as all struggling individuals, families and children.
The Library — through its Central location, community branches, and online presence — is experiencing more demands for facilities, resources and services than can be reasonably met with a reduction in funding. The Library already makes extensive use of volunteer groups to assist the professional staff in meeting these demands. And the Library receives financial support through donations from individuals and groups to help to pay for the resources and services it provides.
This unique public/private partnership came to fruition with the successful completion of Libraries For All. Citizens voted for and provided the additional financial support required to re-build and re-energize the Library. They are depending on the City to maintain its materials and operation.
For a City department, the Library is unique for the significant amount of its overall revenue base that comes from donations. Since it already operates with a very lean budget, and donations are not expected to keep pace with past years, any reduction in funding of the Library, may force drastic cuts in services.
I ask you to consider the needs of the entire community when considering a reduction in the Library’s budget. The Library is an invaluable part of the community, a product of the investment made jointly by the city and its citizens. This investment, unlike many others, has not lost its value and is still paying dividends. Now, more than ever, the Library is essential to the lives and well being of every Seattle resident.