Please Support State Aid to Virginia Public Libraries!

Please take a moment to sign this petition regarding state aid to public libraries! Today is the LAST DAY to make your voice heard! There is information on the website, and below are more reasons why you should support House Items 239 #1h and 239 #2h, and Senate Item 293 #1s. Read this, and share with your friends!

Local libraries play an important daily role in Virginia’s educational system and State Aid to Public Libraries is essential to meeting those needs. During the recent economic downturn Virginians turned to their public libraries more than ever for assistance in job searching, access to computers, E-government, lifelong learning, cultural programming, and educational and recreational reading. A survey of Virginia libraries in April 2012 found in just one day at Virginia’s public libraries 412,969 books, audiobooks and other materials were borrowed, 3,726 new library customers enrolled for services, 10,764 patrons enjoyed free programs, 14,527 people held meetings, 82,565 people used computers and Internet access and 19,239 people asked questions about business, jobs, health, government, school work and more.

Virginia public libraries have struggled to meet the challenge of this increasing public demand for services while coping with significant budget cuts. While JLARC has found State Aid to Public Libraries to be a valuable source of funding that effectively leverages local spending and achieves cost efficiencies by encouraging regional libraries, in recent years this state financial support for public libraries has fallen to its lowest level since FY 1998.

In order to meet the tremendous demand from the public for New Age, New Library digital information resources, the Virginia Library Association is urging members of the General Assembly to support a budget amendment that will increase funding for State Aid to Public Libraries by $1.25 million in the second year of the biennium. This new funding will support the purchase of digital information resources local libraries can make available to the public, including eBooks, downloadable audiobooks, information databases and streaming media.

This budget amendment would raise State Aid to Local Public Libraries to slightly above the FY 1999 appropriation, more than $12 million below and only 59% of the amount required by state law.
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