May 6 – Support Our Libraries & Write Your Councilmember

What does it mean when “America’s Finest City” happily spends $500k on consultants to sit around and talk about raising money for a football stadium but won’t spend money on librarians and books for its citizens?  – Editor

If you can make it attend the Wednesday, May 6 City Council Budget and Government Efficiency Committee meeting at 9 am when the Library’s budget will be discussed. As the Council decides on the Library’s FY16 budget, your participation lets our elected officials see how strongly the community values and supports Library services.

The Mayor’s budget calls for a $209,000 reduction in the Library’s materials and book budget. Now is the wrong time to reduce the book and materials budget. Library materials are in great demand. Check outs of books last fiscal year were just off an all-time high and 38 percent higher than just seven years ago.

The proposed budget maintains Library hours. We believe hours should be added across the Library system. An important first step in that process would be adding 10.5 hours a week for the Central Library (at a cost of $1.9 million). This would return Central Library hours to FY03 levels and continue the important recent gains in hours across the Library system.

While the Mayor’s proposed Library budget overall is greater than last year, it actually represents a reduction in the Library’s budget as a percentage of total City general fund spending. The Library would realize 3.67 percent of general fund spending in this year’s proposed budget, versus 3.83 percent last year. The Independent Budget Analyst noted this decrease in her recent review of the proposed budget (see here on page 97). Returning $209,000 to the materials and books budget and adding $1.9 million to fund additional hours at the Central Library would put the Library budget in line with last year’s spending as a share of the City’s general fund. To put this in perspective, this level of Library support falls far short of the 6 percent of spending mandated by the Library Ordinance approved by Council in 2000.

Please provide your support with these three actions:

  1. Attend the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee meeting
    Wednesday, May 6 starting at 9 am in the Council Chambers on the 12th floor of City Hall (202 C Street, San Diego, CA 92101). Consider making public comments encouraging the Council to maintain the Library’s current book budget and add Library hours. If you would like to attend but do not wish to speak, you can fill out a form showing Committee members your Library support. Please be sure to let us know if you are able to attend.
  2. Email your City Council representative. (For District 2 email Let him or her know how important the Library and its services are to you and your neighborhood. Encourage him or her to support a Library book budget at current levels and an overall Library budget in keeping with last year’s general fund spending levels. You can visit here to find out who your Council representative is and contact information for his or her office.
  3. Forward this webpage to other Library supporters and ask them to take action and join the Friends Advocacy Network by visiting here and entering their email address.

Thank you for your help and for advocating for life-changing Library services.

Joan Curry
President, Friends of the San Diego Public Library
4193 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92103-2510
Phone: 619-542-1724

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