|NYS library advocates are celebrating an increase in state aid for NYS Budget FY 2015-16.|
Photo by Ove Overmyer
NYS library services get boost in aid
By Ove Overmyer
A big thank you is in order. General New York State Library Aid has been increased by $5 million (5.8 percent) from $86.1 million to $91.1 million for fiscal year 2015-16. Last year aid was increased by only $1 million (1.2 percent). Historically, library funding proposed by the NYS Executive Branch has been insultingly low-balled— however, thanks to our advocacy efforts the state legislature is now reawakened the fact that strong library systems are critical for local communities to grow and prosper.
Our local delegation gets it. They are good at what they do. And, for those who love library services this is a fantastic development. That being said, NYS library advocates are looking toward the future. In the coming months, we will be asking our state legislators to restore library funding to state mandated levels dictated by constitutional formulas.
Additionally, the $1.3 million MTA tax offset was again included in the budget bill. All libraries and public library systems will be permanently EXEMPT from the MTA tax. The $14 million public library construction grant program was again included in the budget bill. This is really good news for MCLS libraries presently under construction or renovating their facilities.
I want to personally thank all my friends and colleagues who picked up the phone or met with our state representatives during this budget session. Special thanks to Joe Robach, Assemblymember Harry Bronson, Joe Morelle -- and all of the Rochester & Monroe County delegation. Our ability to come together and take positive action to improve upon the delivery of our library programs and services will no doubt transform the lives of the people we serve. Advocacy is not for the faint of heart. It's a 24/7 year round endeavor. Thanks again for all your support on behalf of those folks who love our libraries.
Overmyer is President, City of Rochester Library Workers Local 828 Unit 7420