New library director joins call for governor to restore library money | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New library director joins call for governor to restore library money

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 12:03 PM

New on the job, Central Arkansas Library System Director Nate Coulter is already joining the political fray with a letter to local legislators urging them to work on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to restore the $1 million cut from state support of libraries in 2015 to pay for tax cuts for higher income taxpayers.

Hutchinson's budget for the next budget year keeps library support at the reduced level.

If the legislature adopts a budget for FY 2016-17 that again imposes reduced funding on libraries, the survival of some smaller rural libraries will be in grave doubt. The impact of that cut on CALS is less dramatic, but still consequential. Before the cuts at its 2014-15 levels, CALS' share of state aid was $589,000, about 3.4 percent of our 2014 budget. The library funding cuts cast in the governor's proposed budget for FY 2016-17 result in about a $130,000 drop in our system's annual funding, which will be 2.6 percent of our 2016 budget. Taking $130,000 from book and eBook acquisitions and programming budgets for another year will have a real impact at CALS.
Coulter said the cut in the last legislature was the product of a late-session scramble (to preserve capital gains tax cuts) rather than a desire to cut libraries. Library loves hoped for some reconsideration and that libraries wouldn't have to bear the burden another year. He urged legislators to make the case that library spending is small (about $1.33 per person in the CALS service area) but important.

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