In response to the looming budget crisis in Illinois, legislators in the Illinois General Assembly passed a budget to cut back on expenses. Among the expenses cut were 50% of general revenue grants awarded through the General Revenue Fund. Among other things, those grants are used to award per capita grants to Library Systems, which provide vital services to libraries of all types: public and school libraries, but also college libraries, business libraries, and more.
To mitigate the damages these 50% cuts would have done, Secretary of State Jesse White, under whose budget the system funding and per capita grants fall, reallocated federal money from the Library Services and Technology Act grants - money that would normally go towards new initiatives and technological advancement at public and state libraries - to restore some of the General Revenue grants. The resultant cuts to the grants were 16.5% to library systems, 16% to public libraries, and 3% to public schools.
We owe a deep debt of gratitude to the Secretary of State for his support of libraries and now the ball is in our court to convince Illinois legislators that Illinois libraries need to have funding restored and that we cannot face any future cuts.
The 'Save Illinois Libraries Campaign' is a campaign to assure that each legislator in Illinois be asked to take and support the following pledge for libraries:
"Recognizing the importance of libraries and library systems to our communities and to the livelihood of the citizens of the state of Illinois, I (lawmaker) will work to oppose any additional cuts to library per capita grants in FY10. Furthermore, I will work to fully fund library per capita grants when additional state funding becomes available in the future."