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State Library Budget - A message from the State Librarian

Since 2002 the Washington State Library has experienced a drop of over 52 percent of its state funding and a decrease of over 57 percent in staff. Yet it has been our goal to provide the same great services and programs despite these reductions.

Our current budget is $8,616,286 for the biennium that ends June 30, 2013. Due to action taken during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions 52% of our operating funds are now from the Heritage Center account. The 2011 legislature also awarded Heritage Center funds to four other agencies. It is doubtful that it will be possible to continue to fund all five agencies, including the State Library, from the Heritage Center account at their current allocation levels for the 2013-2015 biennium.

The best option for the State Library would be to return it to 100 percent state funding. Despite increased costs and decreased revenue, customer service transactions have significantly increased on all fronts, from in-house visitors, books checked out, web site and social media use, and usage of online history books, newspapers, and maps. Past cuts have significantly affected the length of time it takes to respond to certain types of customer requests increasing from a few days to 6-8 weeks for information requests. Further cuts will only serve to exacerbate service issues.

In order to receive federal funds for libraries from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), each state must spend a certain amount of money on library service in approved areas. Further cuts to state funding for the Washington State Library will affect the State Library’s Maintenance of Effort (MOE) and will affect the amount of federal funds libraries in Washington receive. Federal LSTA funding provides us with the ability to serve the libraries of the state with subgrants, statewide projects, training and continuing education grants, consulting, and assistance to provide databases, audio books, and e-book in order for the libraries to better serve their customers, the people of Washington

For every dollar of state funding used as MOE we receive $1.81 in federal LSTA funding. Since Washington State does not provide state funding, also known as state aid, to support our libraries, maintaining federal funding for the benefit of our libraries and the residents of the State is important.

LSTA funding allows us to show leadership in areas such as Early Learning where we partner both with public libraries and the Department of Early Learning and broadband where we partner with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet), and the Washington State Broadband Office. It also provides funds to serve customers through our Washington Talking Book & Braille Library and Department Of Correction libraries.

My thanks to the many advocates for the Washington State Library. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of service.

Rand Simmons
Acting State Librarian
[email protected]