Advocacy Winter 2011

Broward Legislative Delegation Public Hearing

January 7, 2011

Good afternoon.

I am Eileen Cobb, President of the Friends of Broward County Library.

On behalf of over 2,000 members of the Friends and over 9 million annual visitors to Broward’s public libraries, I am here today to ask you to hold the line with State Aid to Public Libraries!

For many years, Friends have traveled to Tallahassee during “Library Days” to visit with you and to discuss the importance of libraries and the issues we face.

Eileen Cobb with Lisa Manners & Representative Jenne
Eileen Cobb with Lisa Manners and Representative Jennny

I am sure you remember “The Library Guy” who made headlines last year and made the point that libraries are more than just books.

We know you understand the importance of state aid to public libraries and that funding provides books and many of the essential services that would not otherwise be available. Libraries are a part of the social safety net by providing FREE computer access, as well as instruction, and informational programs that help “change people’s lives.”

Libraries help Job Searchers:

One of the biggest challenges facing Florida is getting people back to work, and libraries are at the forefront of that effort. Libraries play a big role in helping job searchers update their resumes, identify jobs online and submit applications.

Libraries support E-Government Services:

Various federal, state, and local agencies have reduced direct customer assistance and encourage the public to transact their business online. In many instances, the public library is the only source for FREE computers and skilled staff providing assistance to people applying for:

unemployment compensation,

food stamps,

Medicare and Medicaid,

FEMA assistance, and,

Small business start up.
Libraries Provide Resources for Students, too:

They provide homework assistance and computer training for children. The library is where kids go during the summer, and research shows that young people who participate in library summer reading programs do not suffer summer learning loss.

In addition:

Broward’s public libraries offer FREE citizenship classes for immigrants

Adults learn to read through the Library’s FREE Literacy Program, and

Adults improve their English speaking skills through the Library’s FREE English Café classes.
We know you will face difficult challenges during the 2011 Legislative Session.

As you know, libraries are a part of the solution to the current economic situation in our county, state, and nation.

Maintaining State Aid at its current level of $21.2 million dollars is necessary to fund these essential library services and to maintain eligibility for about $9 million dollars in federal library grants.

We thank you for your past support and ask that you continue to fund State Aid to Public Libraries for our community!

Thank you!

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