Community Advocacy Team (CAT)
A new Community Advocacy Team(CAT), comprised of 22 committed citizens and Library Foundation Board members, was launched in November 2017 to keep the County Commissioners and the public informed about the value of our libraries to the community and the critical need to secure their future. We seek to create a partnership with the County and give a voice to the community to secure adequate and sustained public support for our libraries.
CAT Advocates for Restoration of Library Budget Reductions
Just as the CAT was forming, the County Commission directed all General Fund agencies (including the libraries) to prepare their FY2019 budget requests with a 11.6% reduction. For the libraries, this meant that Monday hours in all 10 libraries would have to be eliminated.. The collections budget would have to be reduced, discontinuing some expensive online databases and high-demand e-books and audiobooks.. Sunday hours and the return of interlibrary loan services, items requested for the FY2019 budget, would not be restored.
Members of the CAT testified during the public comment portion of several County Commission meetings, sharing their stories of the impact of libraries — and the projected cuts — on citizens’ lives. On January 31, at the first hearing on the 2019 budget, 11 CAT members filled the audience and 7 testified. Commissioner Alan Maio moved to restore Monday hours (and $200,000) to the libraries. The Commissioners voted unanimously to support the motion and asked County Administrator Jonathan Lewis to find the funds somewhere else in the budget.
The Community Advocacy Team will continue to advocate for restoration of at least a portion of the collections budget for FY2019 and will be a continuing new committee of the Library Foundation Board of Directors.
Click on the links below for more information.
• The Facts: Residents Love Our Libraries
• The Challenge: Budget Cuts Threaten Our Libraries
• The Impact of Budget Cuts on Our Libraries
• The Call to Action