Libraries in Louisiana will have to make do with about a million dollars less in funding this year. That's after the state legislature and Governor Bobby Jindal stripped the money from this year's budget. The funding is usually divided among the state's public library systems to help upgrade patron services, including technology programs.
So what does it mean for Ark-La-Tex libraries? "Althought it's not a large part of our budget, it is a part of our budget and anytime you lose money, you feel it," said Ivy Woodard-Latin with the Shreve Memorial Library System. Last year, the system received just under $15,000 in state aid.
Woodard-Latin said the funding has been a valuable resource in the past, especially since Shreve's system covers up to 250,000 people. The budget for next year is currently under review. "Something that we usually buy, we probably won't be able to buy it," said Woodard-Latin.
Sixty miles away, the Claiborne Parish Library System serves the 17,000 people who live in the area. Director Pam Suggs told us it's the first time since 1988 that the system won't get any state aid. "Here, we use it for computers, if we need to buy new computers, or if we need to upgrade software." She said the funding cut won't have a big impact this year, because the system never budgets for the money until it's guaranteed.
However, both systems told us, if the state aid isn't renewed for years, it could make a bigger difference. That's something that won't be decided until next year's legislative session.