Many State Library Administrative Agencies are reporting steep and sudden declines in state revenues for library services, according to a report released today by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The majority of states reported reductions, with six states reporting losses of greater than 15 percent in one year. Overall, 51 SLAAs collected $34 million less in state revenue in FY 2009 than they did in FY 2008. During the same period, SLAAs lost 227 full-time employees, a one-year decrease of 6.7 percent.
SLAAs play an important role in planning and evaluating library services in the states. While the range of services each SLAA provides differs state by state, all are tasked with administering the IMLS Grants to States program, which helps libraries embrace technology, serve underserved populations, and develop new service models.
"State Library Administrative Agencies are part of the educational and economic fabric of the nation," said Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS. "SLAAs assess needs for library services in the state and support a wide range of programs that support the nation's libraries as they help people get work, pursue their education, and strengthen the civic life of communities everywhere. It is important for us to track and report about the health of these essential state agencies."