Libraries' Financial Squeeze

November 9, 1979

Report Outline
Impact of Funding Problems
Library Expansion in America
Debating the Financial Future
Special Focus

Impact of Funding Problems

Focus on Coming White House Conference

Topic No. 1 at most libraries these days is not books, but money. Taxpayer tightfistedness, higher salaries and the rising cost of books and periodicals have forced many libraries to close branches, postpone renovations and maintenance, cut staff, reduce hours and trim orders for books and other library materials. At the same time, demand for library services is booming. Today's information explosion has expanded the library's traditional role as a lender of books. Patrons now expect librarians to answer sophisticated reference questions and, increasingly, to provide access to the growing number of computerized data banks.

“It is ironic that in a time when America's information needs are expanding, the nation's libraries are allowed to remain among the most overlooked and neglected of our social institutions,” Thomas J. Galvin, president of the American Library Association, wrote recently. “The simple fact is that libraries have not received the level of financial support necessary to enable them, for the most part, to maintain, let alone expand, resources and services to their clientele.”

The challenge of meeting the growing range and diversity of America's information needs in a period of fiscal restraint is expected to be one of the most important topics discussed at the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services, to be held Nov. 15–19, in Washington, D.C. Of the more than 3,000 resolutions passed at the state and territorial pre-White House conferences, more than 60 percent dealt with the need for increased funding for libraries in local communities. “If libraries are to continue to survive, indeed, to grow and prosper in this age of belt-tightening and scarce resources, it is obvious that increased funding must be a special priority of the White House Conference delegates,” said Conference Director Marilyn K. Gell.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jul. 29, 2011  Future of Libraries
Mar. 16, 2007  Presidential Libraries
Jun. 01, 2001  Libraries and the Internet
Jun. 06, 1997  Reforming the FDA
May 23, 1997  The Future of Libraries
Jun. 26, 1992  Hard Times for Libraries
Nov. 09, 1979  Libraries' Financial Squeeze
Jun. 02, 1967  Library Expansion
Libraries and Educational Media