Bobby Jindal just signed a $25 billion dollar budget that cut all state funding for libraries, which wasn't exactly a huge porkfest to begin with ($900,000). He says it's just not a huge priority for the state, citing health care and education funding as first priorities.
Of course, let's not forget that education funding means sending lots of state money to church and corporate-run charter schools in Louisiana. What a guy.
Jindal claimed that libraries can be funded with local money and donations, with federal funds making up the difference in their budgets. Not so fast, Bobby.
Louisiana Division of Administration spokesman Michael DiResto told LJ: “The FY 13 Louisiana budget includes two federal technology grants for the State Library for the purchase of e-books ($1 million), which local libraries can use through the interlibrary loan program, and to provide statewide technology training and equipment for public libraries ($782K) – for a total of almost $1.8 million, which more than makes up for the $896K in direct state funding.”
However, those federal technological funds from the BTOP program are earmarked specifically for providing training, laptops for citizens to check out, and accessible workstations for the blind. As such they cannot be distributed to local libraries to maintain, upgrade, or replace the in-library desktop PCs and servers that were previously covered by state aid. Increased access to ebooks may help make up for lack of collection development dollars to some extent, but since 34-43 percent of Louisiana residents don’t have Internet access at home, ebooks can’t completely replace the lost dollars for print materials, especially in poorer areas.
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