Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said, “There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.” [Source: “What are the benefits of public libraries?”]
First-Ever National Study: Millions of People Rely on Library Computers for Employment, Health, and Education
77 million people used library computers and Internet access in past year
Overall, the budget for the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, which handles distribution of funds to public libraries and maintains state records and historical materials, would be reduced from $71.5 million in 2010-2011 to $48.3 million in 2012-13, Rudd said. (Peggy Rudd, director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
Of that, $26 million supports statewide library programs such as databases and loan programs, and $5 million funds initiatives for public schools. Those cuts would result in the additional loss of about $8 million in federal matching funds, she said.
“This will be devastating,” said Rudd, who notes that library usage has skyrocketed during the lean economic times, with Texans making nearly 80 million visits to libraries in 2009, up 7 percent from 2008.
“We’re going backwards to a time when Texas was one of only a handful of states that didn’t provide any support for public libraries,” she said.