The Texas Library Association has declared February 12th to be Virtual Action Day for the State of Texas. This is the day that all library supporters should contact their legislators and let them know how important funding for libraries is. Making a budget for the coming biennium is one of the most important things that our legislators will do this session and it is imperative that they know how we as Texans feel about our libraries.
The State of Texas budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 included a $30 million cut to library services, with another $9 million of federal funds in jeopardy. These cuts are in addition to serious cuts made in previous years. These major and disproportionately severe cuts threaten vital services that Texas libraries provide to their citizens. The proposed budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 includes more cuts, even though the State of Texas experienced surpluses in revenues and legislators are open to using the Rainy Day Fund for important projects.
What can you do? Here’s some ways to get started advocating for the library:
- Write letters and emails; call your legislators’ offices. Make sure they are aware of what you want. This link will tell you who represents you and their contact information: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx.
- Don’t know what to write? Here’s a sample letter to get you started: www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/Legislative%20Sample%20Letter.docx
- Here’s the Texas Library Association’s priority sheet for the legislative session. It explains what needs to be added back into the budget and why it’s so important: http://www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/2013%20Overview.pdf
The only way Texas libraries will get these funds back is if Texas library supporters contact their legislators to let them know that we expect them to add funds to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission budget. Texas libraries have already proven that they can provide $4.42 worth of benefits for every $1 that they receive (see this study at https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/roi). Libraries are one of the few services in the state that are prepared to help every single citizen of Texas.
Libraries across Texas are proud of the services that we provide for our citizens. We want to keep giving you our best. Thank you for your help.