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Paul Clark - 'The library guy' takes a Capitol victory lap

Paul Clark - The library guy takes a Capitol victory lap
Photo by Scott Keeler, St. Petersburg Times

This just received from Chris Lyon about Paul Clark who spent literally days in the Capitol with signs and telling the library story - and he did it last year too! I am sure Paul spoke more over the last few weeks with legislative leaders than their family members.

Chris says - He's quite popular up here today. Everbody, Lobbyists and legislators alike, are slapping him high fives and congratulating him. Another news crew is interviewing him now. He is now officially the most popular librarian in Florida!

See the story - 'The library guy' takes a Capitol victory lap

Some times the good guys finish first!

State Aid - Budget Chairs Restore State Funding to Public Libraries to $21.2 Million

At midnight the House accepted a Senate offer to restore State Aid to Public Libraries to the current year level of $21.2 million. When Senate Budget Chair J. D. Alexander made the offer, he asked if "the library guy" with the signs was in the room. The library guy we all know is Paul Clark who has pretty much lived in the Capitol keeping the issue in front of legislators and the press for 6 weeks. Senator Alexander was disappointed that Paul wasn't there and said that other advocates could learn a lot from him.

There, working the issue until midnight were FLA lobbyist Chris Lyon, Small County Coalition coordinator Chris Doolan, and whole contingent from the Department of State including Secretary Kurt Browning, lobbyist Rivers Buford III, and John Boynton. This group barely left the Capitol all weekend long. Chris Doolan had a very positive impact for us, especially on Sunday morning. The folks from the Florida Association of Counties, and many county lobbyists have been working the issue aggressively as well. The Salter>Mitchell pr folks distributed press releases for us at several critical junctures. FLA's CapWiz wizard, Lisa Manners did an incredible job of keeping the message fresh and for generating over 60,000 messages in the last 6 weeks. And nothing good happens at FLA without Executive Director Faye Roberts talents and effort.

Thanks to everyone for their incredible efforts and congratulations on the wonderful success!

State Aid - Gotta Keep It Up this Weekend! It is Not Over Until the Speaker and President Say It Is

Click this Link: Take Action!

As you may be aware, this afternoon the Senate and House Budget Chairs agreed to fund State Aid to Public Libraries at $11,746,022, a $9,507,956 (55%) reduction from the current year’s $21,253,978. This follows cuts over $12 million in recent years, down from $33.4 million to the current $21,253,978. Many public libraries will start the next fiscal year in October with local budget cuts of 30% to 45% so libraries have already had their share of cuts. After conversations with Chris Lyon, Fla President John Callahan, and others, we’re going to try over the weekend to persuade the Speaker and President to reopen State Aid and find the dollars to bring it back to $21,253,978million.

Action Needed: Call or e-mail Senate President Atwater and House Speaker Cretul. Preferably call them at their Tallahassee Offices. Start now, continue all day Saturday, and keep at it until about 1 p.m. on Sunday. If you can’t reach them in Tallahassee, call their district offices. If you know people who have relationships with them, please try to get those folks to make the call and make the case.

Please start making contacts now!

The Message for Senate President Atwater and House Speaker Cretul: Florida’s libraries, especially those serving small rural counties, will be irreparably harmed by the State Aid reduction to $11.7 million. Please re-open this issue and find a way to fund libraries at $21,253,978.

The Message for Your Members: Florida’s libraries, especially those serving small rural counties, will be irreparably harmed by the State Aid reduction to $11.7 million. Please contact President Atwater or Speaker Cretul and ask them to re-open this issue and find a way to fund libraries at $21,253,978.

Contact Information:

Senator Jeff Atwater (r) - Senate President - Represents parts of Broward & Palm Beach Counties - / District (561) 625-5101 / Tallahassee (850) 487-5100 Larry Cretul (r) - House Speaker - Represents parts of Alachua, Levy, & Marion Counties - / District (352) 873-6564 / Tallahassee (850) 488-1450
Background - I spent part of the afternoon talking with directors of rural libraries and here is what they are contemplating to deal with the cuts:
  • Staff Layoffs
  • Parking book mobiles
  • Rotating Branch closings
  • Permanent Branch closings
  • Book Budgets are already bare bones
  • Elimination of all programming
The reductions would harm libraries serving communities of all sizes but would particularly affect the smallest of Florida’s 67 counties because they rely heavily on provisions in the funding program that help communities with lower tax bases.

Make the right decision
Restore State Aid to Public Libraries

Last Library Funding Push in the Legislature - $21.2 Million is Needed to Support Public Libraries and an $8 Million Cut (37%) Has Been Proposed With 3 Days Left to Finish the Budget!

Click this Link: Take Action!

We are embarrassed to ask you to step up one more time and contact the Governor, legislative leadership, and your legislators to support State funding for public libraries but ask you we must. Earlier this week a budget conference committee could not reach agreement about State Aid to Public Libraries funding so the issue goes now Budget Chairs Senator Alexander and Representative Rivera.

When they met Thursday Senator Alexander proposed $13,253,978 or an $8 million (37%) State Aid cut, to the $21.2 million needed and the amount provided this year. State Aid has already been reduced by $12.2 million from $33.4 or 37% from $33.4 million several years ago). This cut would make it 60%.

And legislators are taking this action in spite of your incredible outpouring of support for Florida's public libraries! They talk about the overwhelming response. Over the past 6 weeks using CapWiz alone, over 4,500 individuals have sent over 50,000 messages to the Governor, legislators, and the leadership. And we estimate that a similar number have called or send e-mail messages directly. Thank you for the wonderful job you have done!

And please, do it one more time.
We cannot thank you enough!

Library Day in Tallahassee Just
One Step in Year-Long Advocacy Plan

Friends groups and staff from all types of libraries throughout Florida visited the state capital Feb. 16th to meet with their legislators before the 2010-11 Legislative Session begins in March.

Goals were to rally library advocates for the challenging session ahead; to inform legislators about the essential services libraries provide Floridians -- especially in difficult economic times; to build and maintain relationships with legislators and state leaders, and to win the hearts and minds of the governor and legislators for libraries and thereby secure adequate funding.

Advocacy for the Fort Lauderdale Libraries
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