Target: Jay Nixon, Governor of Missouri
Goal: Stop a detrimental 90 percent budget cut from closing Missouri’s public libraries.
Public libraries in Missouri could be at risk of closure should a proposed 90 percent budget cut take effect. State Governor Jay Nixon has not only failed to release over five million dollars in allocated funds from last year to the library board, but wants to reduce library funding to $724,000 in 2015, down from 2014’s $6.6 million. This amount is not even enough to sustain the Kansas City Public Library alone.
In 2014, $3.5 million was allocated to public libraries in the state, and another $3.1 was to be used to provide internet, computers, and other digital services to public libraries. So far, most of this funding has been held by Governor Jay Nixon, who released just over 10 percent of the funds to libraries serving smaller communities. Nixon also threw a group of teenagers out of his office when they came to plea their case to keep the funding.
Libraries provide reading and learning material to people of all ages, host community programs, and provide internet access to those who are otherwise unable to afford it. According to studies by the University of Michigan and Temple University, children with access to a public library show improved reading skills compared to those without, giving them an academic advantage. Such a large federal funding cut would result in fewer staff members, less resources, and some branches closing altogether.
Such a drastic funding cut is unrealistic and unreasonable, and takes away valuable resources from students and the less fortunate. Sign the petition below to demand that Governor Jay Nixon hand over last year’s funding to the libraries as well as stop his assault on literacy.
Dear Governor Jay Nixon,
Missouri lawmakers are currently considering a proposed 90 percent budget cut to Missouri public libraries. This, compounded by the fact that 90 percent of last year’s funding was withheld without a vote, could prove detrimental to the library system. Without the funding, libraries will be forced to cut their hours, reduce available resources, or close altogether.
Public libraries provide reading material, academic resources, and internet access to tens of thousands of Missouri residents daily. Studies have shown that children with access to a public library show better literary skills than those without, and have an advantage in their academic pursuits.
Libraries are an important public resource, and should be treated as such. We, the undersigned, demand that you release the 2014 funds allocated to the libraries, as well as provide a reasonable amount of funding that will allow the libraries to sustain themselves in 2015.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Emgonzalez via Creative Commons