March 22 is Library Legislative Day, a chance for users of Wisconsin public libraries to let our legislators know we believe in — and support — libraries and the services they offer. For many of us, the tight economy means we are using our libraries more than ever. From Bayfield's classic Carnegie Library (directly below) to Madison's up-to-the-minute Sequoya branch, we are fortunate to have wonderful libraries in our state, offering community meeting space, education and entertainment via books and electronic media, on-line job searching and general internet access.
Gov. Walker's budget includes provisions that would harm state libraries, in particular the sharing system that benefits both libraries and users. The budget would remove a requirement "established in 1972 to ensure municipalities can't slash services and book budgets while taking advantage of the resources of neighboring libraries," according to an email press release from the Madison Public Library sent to library patrons. The budget also includes about a ten percent cut in state funding for libraries. It's obvious what effect these items will have on Wisconsin libraries.
The library suggests a number of ways that folks who support their mission can help.
- March with library supporters from Olin Terrace to the State Capitol here in Madison beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 22. Meet at the Olin Terrace entrance to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
- Participate in LIbrary Legislative day online.
- Register to attend the other activities that are part of Library Legislative Day.
These events are co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association and the Wisconsin Library Association. If you can't make it to any of the events on Tuesday, you might want to sign up for updates that will keep you informed about how you can help our libraries. I just signed up so I can tell you that it's quick and very easy.