May 10, 2001
Report: Libraries Popular,
But Funding Doesn't Follow
The last two decades have brought serious
declines in funding and service levels for California libraries,
according to a new report from the California Institute for
County Government. The institute is affiliated with the Center
for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento.
Despite the economic good fortune of the 1990s, the report
says, California's support for libraries remains below that
of the 1970s. In fact, the state's library service now ranks
among the lowest in the nation.
For example, in 1997, the most recent year for which data
is available, the report says California libraries as a whole
ranked 49th in the nation in staffing. That's down from 34th
in 1990. In the same years, the state's libraries fell from
30th to 41st in circulation per capita.
But the state rankings don't tell the whole story. Local governments
fund libraries, and the report says county and special district
libraries have been hit especially hard. Combined, these libraries
now serve 52 percent of California residents with just 40
percent of overall library funding. Municipal libraries serve
the remaining 48 percent of residents, and have 60 percent
of overall funding.
The declines have occurred despite strong demand for library
services from voters, according to the report. It lays the
blame on economic factors, ballot propositions that constrain
local government budgets and state budget actions.
The California Institute for County Government, which published
the report, studies county policy and fiscal issues and offers
consulting to county government. In addition to publishing
occasional Perspectives and Research Briefs, the institute
maintains extensive county statistical information, much of
which is available on its website.
More information is available at www.cicg.org, or by contacting
the institute at (916) 324-0796 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Report (pdf)
further information send E-Mail to email@example.com or
Public Affairs (916)
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