Library DrawingThe CONNector

JULY 2001Volume 3 Number 3

Legislative Update - July, 2001
CSL Budget

$ clipartThe regular 2001 session of the General Assembly ended without a budget being enacted. However, a series of appropriation bills and enabling legislation were finally passed by the legislature meeting in a Special Session before the end of the fiscal year. After all was said and done the State Library budget more closely resembled the Governor's proposed budget than the budget that came out of the Appropriations Committee.

While the State Library was able to hold on to many of the gains made in the last session, the Budget for the biennium ending June 30, 2003 does present the Library and the library community with some significant challenges.

An $80,000 reduction in the State Library materials budget combined with minimal adjustments for inflation over the past several years means that the Library will have to reduce the number of serials it receives or stop buying new books or both. This will affect all aspects of the State Library including the law collection and the service center collections.

In a surprise turn of events, iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library, was only funded for the first year of the biennium. Both the Governor's budget and the Appropriation Committee's budget had recommended two years of funding. Since the majority of funding for iCONN pays for subscriptions to the various database offerings, no funding would result in the cancellation of these valuable resources.

The budget does allow the State Library the opportunity to address the growing demands on the Connecticar (CCAR) delivery system. The State Library will issue a request for proposals this summer seeking a private delivery/courier firm to take over the CCAR operation. However, it could take six months or more before a company can be found and a contract negotiated. In the meantime, the Division of Library Development will continue to operate C-CAR.

The most severe hit in the budget was the elimination of funding for the Connecticut Humanities Council's A Time for Ideas in Libraries program and their support for the Emmy-winning "Connecticut Experience" programming in cooperation with Connecticut Public Television.

Despite efforts to increase funding for the Cooperative Library Service Units (CLSU's), their funding fell to $778,971, which is $20,295 below FY01's funded level of $799,266.

Funding for the public library construction grant program will continue at the $2.5 million level each year of the biennium.

In other legislative action the partnership program between schools in need of improvement and public libraries will continue. This will continue the program that began last year, however the funding levels look to be significantly lower.

The Connecticut General Statutes governing the State Library were amended removing the section relating to the Connecticut Library Network. The language establishing the Connecticut Library Network was redundant to last year's enactment of the Connecticut Education Network. The services previously referred to as the Connecticut Library Network will be carried on under the Division of Library Development as part of iCONN.

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