The Vermont Library Association would like to express its gratitude to the governor and state legislators for their support of libraries and their users in the proposed FY 2017 budget for the state of Vermont.
The Department of Libraries received a significant cut to its budget in FY 2016, resulting in the loss of a state-run law library and seven staff positions. This was the largest percentage of positions cut at the department level in Vermont’s FY 2016 budget.
Despite a difficult year adapting to the reduction in its funding, the Department of Libraries was able to maintain the federal funding requirements it viewed as a major priority. These funds amount to nearly one million dollars in the form of Grants to States, which have a direct impact on local libraries and their communities. They provide support for individual libraries’ summer reading programs, resource sharing, Early Literacy programs, literary awards, continuing education, and special services.
The Vermont Library Association is pleased to see a FY 2017 budget allocation for the Department of Libraries with no additional cuts and with adequate funding for the Department of Libraries to continue its essential services. These services directly and positively impact many Vermonters and their communities. The Association will continue to monitor the Department of Libraries’ budget throughout the 2016 legislative session, to ensure that funding levels remain adequate to preserve much-needed federal funding.
Vermont Library Association members are made up of librarians and trustees at Vermont’s 200 public and academic libraries. They rely heavily on Vermont’s Department of Libraries for access to books, online resources, educational programs for patrons and staff training for our workforces. Vermont librarians have been deeply concerned over the last year about the Department of Libraries’ funding situation. We look forward to working with the Department to deliver essential programs for libraries across Vermont.
While the proposed budget will allow the Department of Libraries to continue supporting libraries and community members, the department is actively seeking new ways to meet its responsibilities and position itself to embrace the change that is coming its way. It contracted this past year with Himmel and Wilson Library Consultants to help it effectively adjust its organizational structure and successfully plan for its future. The plan will address innovation and sustainability and will provide a clear blueprint for the upcoming years.
As the Department of Libraries gears up for another fiscal year, the Vermont Library Association gladly supports its endeavors and advocates for it continued success and funding. The Vermont Library Association is an educational organization working to develop, promote, and improve library and information services and librarianship in the state of Vermont.
Virgil Fuller, president of Vermont Library Association