URGENT MESSAGE TO LIBRARY ADVOCATES:
Please call both of your U.S. Senators to ask each of them to request that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), include the hiring and retaining of librarians in the $18 billion “Jobs Bill” as well.
BACKGROUND FOR “JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT”
- Libraries play a key role in getting America back to work again. Nationwide, the library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of Americans. With more and more job applications only being accepted online, the public library is becoming the center of most American’s job searches.
- State Library Agencies reported in November 2009 that 77 percent of states cut funds that support local public libraries, which has meant layoffs, staff furloughs, and forced retirements. This has caused a 75 percent cut in services to the public including canceled statewide databases used for job searching, homework help, and cuts in 24/7 reference, which are used by small businesses and students.
- Our proposal to be a part of the $20.5 billion program to create jobs that provide public services would not add any additional funding, but would give libraries a specific amount to draw on.
- The money would be used for library jobs that are focused on assisting patrons with getting back to work – thereby having the impact of assisting literally millions of Americans find employment. None of these funds would be used for facilities or equipment.
- These funds would be distributed in a clear, concise, affirmative manner. Funds would be distributed to states using a formula through IMLS based 50 percent on population, and 50 percent on relative unemployment (similar to the Department of Labor’s Dislocated Worker Program).
- The Chief State Library Officer in each state would be responsible for distributing funds to local public libraries based on their local needs.
- A minimum amount of funding per library could offer one library staff job per building based upon need and a maximum of five full-time staff.
- Funds would be limited to hiring back staff released due to budget cuts, recruiting new staff and/or expanding staff services around job searching and employment skills training.
Call the U.S. Capital switchboard ASAP at 202.224.3121. For email addresses and other contact information go to: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm