Libraries have funds restored
By Jesse Phelps
In an otherwise bleak month of Sacramento
news, a ray of light has appeared for patrons of the Ojai Library,
the Meiners Oaks Library and the Oak View Library. Government
officials have voted to reinstate funding for public libraries
The cuts, which this year would have totaled $15.8 million statewide
and more than $200,000 in Ventura County alone under Gov. Gray
Davis' midyear budget cuts proposal, were shot down when the
Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance held an informational
hearing last week.
During the presentations of the subcommittee reports on Tuesday,
Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena), chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee
on Education Finance, said that his committee had reached closure
on issues surrounding the cuts to state agencies like libraries.
A handout distributed at the meeting said the subcommittee would
be rejecting the governor's proposal to reduce PLF funding and
in the final bill, all mention of public libraries would be eliminated.
If the bill reaches the governor's desk in its current form,
according to California Library Association reports, he'll be
unable to alter this portion of it.
The CLA participated in a special hearing called by the chair
of the Senate Local Government Committee, Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch).
The CLA was asked to testify as to the impact of the Governor's
reduction proposals relative to the Public Library Foundation.
According to Anne Cain, CLA Legislative Chair and Contra Costa
County Library Director, the PLF funding statewide last year
enabled libraries to provide 276,000 hours of extended service,
while $7.6 million helped purchase books and materials.
Starrett Kreissman of the Ventura County Libraries said last
month that in Ojai, the budget cuts would have meant layoffs,
shorter hours and reductions in services such as community reading
The latest news means that the round of layoffs slated for this
month would not occur. "That's not going to happen,"
But she cautioned that the fight is far from over. "We are
going to have to fight this battle again next year," she
The Ojai Valley News
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