Today Congress will vote on a $150 billion stimulus package that will be doled out over the next two years to school districts, education agencies, child care centers and universities. The New York Times reported on the stimulus plan yesterday calling it the “..the largest increase in federal aid since Washington began to spend significantly on education after World War II.”
So what does this mean for libraries? We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that many of our customers partner with local school districts and education agencies to sponsor programs together and share the cost. More money to schools and local agencies should present more opportunities for libraries to forge community partnerships to fund needed education services for both K-12 and adult students.
We’ll be tracking this bill with an eye toward what it can mean for libraries. We’ve also been thinking about the new economic environment which has caused libraries to cut their budgets even while they are serving a record number of patrons. Our “stimulus” pacakge for 2009 includes:
More services for adults: one-to-one help for adults who find themselves facing a career transition, going back-to-school, applying for citizenship or taking the GED.
24/7 Resource Center: Give K-12 and adult students access to needed resources such as tutorials, worksheets, resume guidelines, videos and more around the clock
Flexible, Affordable Pricing: Our new pricing allows libraries to work within any budget – no matter how constrained – to bring high quality education help.
2009 will be a tough year, but smart programs and smart partnerships (and more government spending) will help all of us get through it while still serving the communities we care about.