I just heard that CBJ Mayor Ken Koelsch has tasked the Finance Committee with deciding whether or not to cut the Juneau Public Library’s Outreach budget. The Finance Committee will be meeting to discuss the idea this week.
Check out the library’s Youth Services Programs here to see a part of what is at risk. Read on to see what you can do to support our public library!
I received an email from Juneau Indivisible about this issue, and the following is a direct quote:
The Mayor has re-opened the Library’s budget for discussion by the Finance Committee. On Wednesday, May 31 at 5:30 PM in the Assembly chambers, the Finance Committee will hold a public work session to discuss the Library Use, Programming and Outreach budget of $225,000.
This budget pays for six employees who provide ALL of the programming and outreach activities of the Library. This includes story times, family nights, the summer reading program, adult programs, and outreach to local institutions such as the Johnson Youth Center.
The Financed Committee will consider reductions of 25% ($50,000), 50% ($125,000) and 100% ($225,000). Juneau Public Library provides a wide array of programming for this community. All levels of reductions will be devastating. If the budget is zeroed out, the Library will no longer be able to provide any children’s programming at all, which threatens the Library’s public library assistance grant from the State Library.
Notes: I performed due diligence by checking to make sure there was a CBJ Finance Committee meeting on the date indicated and that the Library budget was on their agenda. These two facts were both true, and here are links to the official pages: Finance Committee is on the calendar; Finance Committee agenda (note that the agenda states that additional material will be posted on 5/30).
In case you are curious, the most recent overall CBJ budget is about $345 million, with $1.4 million coming from reserves. This $225,000 represents about 0.065% of the total budget; if the Assembly were to reduce the library outreach budget proportionate to its impact on the overall budget (0.065%), Juneau would save $146.74.
The Finance Committee meeting will be held this Wednesday, May 31, starting at 5:30 PM. They will not be allowing public testimony, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it! Again from that email, I see that local library lovers are planning to make their voices heard – on paper:
Please support community programming and outreach at JPL! Here is what you can do:
1. Attend the May 31st meeting in the Assembly Chambers. Bring a 8.5″ by 11″ sign with SAVE STORYTIME or SAVE FAMILY NIGHT or SAVE SUMMER READING on it. No testimony will be taken, so the signs are crucial in registering your support for this library program.
2. Bring your children to this meeting. Better yet, have your children hold up their favorite library books during the meeting.
3. Register your support for library programming by writing to the Assembly. You can write to all of the members using: BoroughAssembly@juneau.org. Check out the borough assembly web page, which also has links to individual assembly mail boxes. [Here is the online form to contact our Assembly members individually. – Mary]
4. Share this message with everyone you know in Juneau. We need to activate as many people as we can in just a few days over a holiday weekend.
Opinions in this article are those of the author and do not represent official positions of TongassDemocrats.com, the Tongass Democrats, or anyone other than the author.