Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Libraries Cut Once Again

Governor Malloy has made cuts in the CT State Library budget that will have a devastating effect on two of this state's most cost-effective methods of resource sharing. Connecticard is the program that allows a library card holder to borrow books from any library in the state. Connecticar is a system of vans that support the Connecticard program by moving the books between libraries. It allows patrons who may not be able to travel themselves to pick up an item to have it delivered to their hometown library. This service allows access to almost all of the books residing in the 169 municipalities in our state, including the academic libraries.

Last year, patrons of the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library borrowed 27,095 items from other libraries and conversely, 31, 531 items belonging to Monroe were loaned to non-residents. Connecticard provides a reimbursement payment to cover part of the cost of providing these materials. Over 20,000 of these items traveled through the Connecticar van system. On the state level, over 2 million items were transported between libraries.

Isn't this what our political leaders have been asking us to do, share resources? Our State Library has had this system in place for many years, and to lose it for less than the $1 million being saved in the budget is ridiculous. If the libraries in CT lose these two vital services it will isolate them from each other and force duplicate purchases. Connecticard and Connecticar allow libraries to share across town lines.

I ask the governor and his staff to take another look at the cuts in the State Library budget. If you believe these services are worthwhile I ask you to contact the governor and your local representatives and ask them to restore the cuts to the library budget.

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