January 29, 2007

Unions endorse closing the gap in funding for libraries

Source: New York Teacher

NYSUT has joined two other unions supporting the New York Library Association in its quest for $27 million in additional state funding for libraries serving New York's schools, colleges and communities.

"Numerous studies demonstrate the positive impact that school libraries staffed by certified librarians and equipped with current materials and technology have on student academic achievement,"  said NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan Lubin.  "Now is the time for New York state to put research into practice by increasing state funding for school libraries."

NYSUT, the Civil Service Employees Association and District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees represent thousands of library workers in public, academic and school libraries across the state.

Last year the state began funding libraries based on the 2000 census, rather than the 1990 census, providing an additional $2.7 million in operating aid to libraries across the state. These funds were coupled with $3 million in one-shot funding for library systems and $14 million for public library construction.

As part of its current legislative package, NYLA is seeking to increase library materials aid from $6 to $15 per pupil so school libraries are better able to buy books and other library materials.

In his State of the State address, Gov. Spitzer commented on the need for students to have access to state-of-the-art Internet libraries as well as funding for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision, which labeled libraries as an essential instrumentality of learning.