At their meeting in Las Vegas on June 28th, the Council of the American Library Association (ALA) overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Congress to grant the District of Columbia budget autonomy thereby allowing libraries, to remain open during a federal government shutdown. The text of the resolution is below.
The resolution recognizes the unnecessary burden library users and staff face due to the DC's inability to spend its own funds without authorization from Congress. There are a lot of people to thank for this, Not wanting to use their names publicly without their permission, they'll be omitted from this email. However, their hard work to make this happen is truly appreciated.
2013-2014 ALA CD#45_6/29/14_act
2014 ALA Annual Conference
Resolution on Granting the District of Columbia Government Budget Autonomy to Allow City Services, including Libraries, to Remain Open during a Federal Government Shutdown
Whereas Congress did not pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government at the beginning of fiscal year 2014;
Whereas the District of Columbia (D.C.) government had passed its budget for fiscal year 2014 but was unable to spend local tax revenue without authorization from Congress;
Whereas D.C.’s nearly 700,000 residents would have been subject to a government shutdown if Mayor Vincent Gray had not declared all D.C. government employees to be essential and used the city’s reserve fund to pay them;
Whereas a D.C.-government shutdown would have deprived its citizens of access to the 26 public library branches throughout the city, access to the 90 meeting and study rooms in those branches, library services to patrons with disabilities, resources from the library’s adult literacy division, and the library’s early childhood literacy campaign, and
Whereas during October 2013, the month of the shutdown, the DC Public Library registered 2,207 children and teens for library services, served 22,875 children through programming, held classes for 1667 patrons in library space, and provided access to 35,031 people who used the library for meetings in the library’s public meeting space, now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the American Library Association urges Congress to grant the District of Columbia budget autonomy in order to prevent the unnecessary closing of city government facilities, including public libraries, in the event of a federal government shutdown.