Friday, January 13, 2017

Governor Brown Releases 2017-18 State Budget Library Funding Holds The Line In Governor’s “Prudent” Plan

Governor Brown Releases 2017-18 State Budget
Library Funding Holds The Line In Governor’s “Prudent” Plan
CLA News From the Capitol: 1.10.2017 by Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists

At 11 a.m. today, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his 2017-18 State Budget before the press corps at the Capitol.  The Governor called for cautious spending in the coming Budget year due to a projected $2 billion shortfall, as well as the anticipation of federal policy changes under the new Presidential Administration, which might significantly affect the state’s General Fund.  Specifically, related to library funding in the Budget, the Governor does not propose new spending; instead he holds the line on all of the current baseline spending in the various library programs (e.g. California Library Services Act, the state literacy program, and funding for the library broadband project in conjunction with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California - CENIC).  The Governor did highlight, however, the work of public libraries in a special section entitled, “Investing in California’s Workforce.”

The Governor dedicates a notable amount of space in his Budget document to the issue of “Investing In California’s Workforce” and he discusses the specific contributions of K-12 schools, community colleges, state universities, and local libraries in this space.  Of note, the Governor has asked the State Librarian to convene discussions in the Spring regarding the opportunities for libraries within workforce development.  Specifically, with regard to public libraries the Governor states:

Role of Local Libraries
“Many other entities play roles as part of pathways in the workforce, and the state’s strategy should consider better integration.  Public libraries already provide a space where students and adults can earn high school diplomas or career certificates online, learn literacy skills with volunteer tutors, or build upon their ideas in dedicated “makerspaces” or innovation labs.  The state now funds high-speed Internet access for many libraries.  Libraries can be hubs for people to access online courses, particularly as libraries are in a unique position to provide the additional support and guidance that some studies suggest is essential for online education.  The State Librarian will engage stakeholders in the spring to create plans to better integrate the libraries into the state’s workforce strategy.”

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