Subject: Library Budget
Date: October 27, 2004 7:37:47 PM EDT
On behalf of the Chevy Chase Library Advisory Committee (LAC) and the Chevy Chase Friends of the Library (FOL), Id like to thank you for supporting Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) at a higher MARC this season.
While I understand that the Countys money situation is still precarious, MCPL has taken more than its share of hits. A few years ago the Libraries budget was about 1.5% of the County budget; at this point it is hovering around 0.8% of the total County budget. Thats right, less than 1% of the budget goes to a department that more than half of the Countys citizens use every year.
At Chevy Chase about a thousand patrons enter the building every week. The staff processes 50 to 100 holds a day. Our Circulation Desk is short three staff positions; Childrens Services was short staffed for months and our branch manager also oversees the Noyes Library for Young Children. The materials budget for the department has been cut year after year and the recent increases havent kept up with inflation.
The Chevy Chase Library branch is not unique in this. I dont think there is a single library in the system that is fully staffed. The substitutes budget is being used, in part, to keep staff numbers high enough for the system to function. Even the Administrative staff in Rockville is shorthanded and has been for years.
At the County Councils work sessions on the budget last year I learned that, though the hiring freeze has ostensibly ended, there is something called lapse which still keeps many library positions (and those of other agencies) from being filled.
I would like to rephrase what I said in paragraph two--the Library system in Montgomery County serves our citizens with books, information, voter registration forms, tax forms, homework help, internet access, childrens programs, caregiver information, literacy programs, ESOL programs for nonnative speakers and much, much more. It is second only to the school system in educating our residents. It is a partner to the school system for most of us. Compare the numbers. Compare the two budgets.
Surveys taken in the last few years by the State Librarian showed that, even among nonusers, support for library funding runs above ninety percent. Please support the fullest funding for the Montgomery County Public Libraries.
Chair, Chevy Chase LAC
9511 Gwyndale Dr.
Silver Spring, Md. 20910-1351
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E-Mail: "pdickerson (at) hers.com"
Paper Mail: Paulette Dickerson, P.O.Box 598, Kensington, MD 20895-0598, USA
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