Did you know…
Revenues to Miami-Dade County libraries have been cut by more than half in the last four years causing reduced operating hours, massive layoffs, a reduction in new titles, and fewer programs for children and the community.
A $64 million budget recommended by the Library Advisory Board and the Coalition to Save our Libraries was rejected by the Miami-Dade County Commission on July 15, 2014 in favor of only a slight tax increase to finance a status quo budget that averts further service cuts and 90 layoffs recommended by the Mayor.
Libraries would operate with roughly the same $52 million budget as the current year, remaining under-funded, poorly equipped and short staffed, but the recent downward trend would end and a foundation for future growth would be secured.
Even this partial victory could be lost in September when Commissioners have the option to lower the preliminary tax rate passed in July, so we must redouble our efforts to hold the line against reductions and keep that $64 million amount in sight for next year to build upon what was accomplished to date and restore our Libraries to prior service levels that made it an award-winning system.
Upcoming dates for public testimony:
- TBA –Six town hall meetings around Miami-Dade County
- August 27, 9:30 a.m. Commission budget discussion
- Sept. 4, 5 p.m. First reading of final budget
- Sept. 18, 5 p.m. Second reading and final budget passage
The final three meetings will be held at Government Center, 111 NW 1st Street, Miami
PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY
A poll of 5,200 registered voters in 13 Commission districts conducted by Bendixen & Amandi for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Knight Foundation show overwhelming support for library funding and an opposition to further cuts.
BLOG: SHARING NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES
- John Quick, President of Friends and a Coalition leader, explains why the preliminary tax rate must survive and clarifies discussion on the Commission dais regarding the Coalition’s original $64 million budget request.
- Jim Defede calls Miami Herald journalists the Bogie and Bacall of government reporting. Watch their most recent take on the budget scenario.
- The national Library Journal reports on the library budget crisis in Miami-Dade and the hurdles that remain into September.
- Sports Illustrated reports on the budget priorities in Miami-Dade favoring stadium over services like libraries and public safety.
- Miami New Times reports on an innovative program to make library books available at a Metrorail stop. Yet another reason to support our library system.
- Knight Foundation CEO, Alberto Ibarguen, envisions the library of the future in a digital age and calls for the hiring of a new, visionary leader to make it happen.
- Helen Aguirre Ferre encourages Mayor Gimenez to accept overwhelming public library support by not vetoing the 8 to 5 vote in favor of a small tax increase to help libraries. She also calls for a national search for new, progressive leadership.
- Toluse Olorunnipa from Bloomberg.com with a national perspective and analysis of Miami’s misguided obsession with funding stadium instead of libraries.