Demand Full Funding for RI Libraries

Background

In recognition of the importance of libraries in our society, the State of Rhode Island passed legislation providing for state aid for public library services. Rhode Island State Law § 29-6-2 calls for state aid support for local public library services to be equal to at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount appropriated and expended by the city or town from local tax revenues and funds from the public library’s private endowment.

Unfortunately, since 2009, the Assembly has not fully funded State aid to libraries! Rather than budgeting the full 25% match of what our municipalities have invested in our libraries, lawmakers have opted to level fund state aid year after year.  As library supporters, we need to demand that library funding in the State’s Fiscal 2017 budget meets the full 25% that the law requires.

Achieving this goal means an additional $1.4 million dollars in state funding to ensure that our libraries can continue to meet the high demands of our citizens:

Public Libraries by the Numbers (2015):

5,888,256 library visits
429,035 people attended a library program
6,723,351 items borrowed
1,238,151 Public computer users
Call to Action

We need you to email the General Assembly today!

Find your representative here: https://sos.ri.gov/vic/
Send an email to URGE them to support the full 25% state funding our our libraries in accordance with § 29-6-2

Copy Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello rep-mattiello@rilegislature.gov on your email
Spread the word to your fellow library supporters through email and social media.
With so many libraries across the state struggling with small budget increases or level funding we ask the General Assembly to provide full funding in the Fiscal 2017 state budget to restore library aid to the full 25% level. The cost to fully fund public libraries would be an additional $1.4 million.

The additional library aid would be allocated to all eligible public libraries according to RI State Law § 29-6-2 and § 29-6-3.

These much needed funds will be used by libraries across Rhode Island on more books and movies, additional hours, more staff, updated technology and library programming.

We have never been closer!

Last month, members of the Coalition of Library Advocates Board and other library representatives testified before House Finance on this very issue and received favorable indications that the committee recognizes the significant value every dollar invested in libraries returns to Rhode Islanders. We need you to keep this important issue at the forefront of our state leaders and make this the year we fully fund our libraries.

Thanks you for your continued advocacy for our libraries!

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