To: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
Restore Library Hours in Sonoma County
I urge the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to act to end an unprecedented 25%, two-year-long cutback in countywide library hours. During budget deliberations in mid-June, I want our Board of Supervisors to make libraries a top priority, and to direct $1.3 million in funding to restore these essential hours for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2013.
Why is this important?
Since the summer of 2011, hundreds of thousands of county residents have been deprived of the use of our local libraries on Mondays and evenings, due to an ill-advised 25% cutback in hours countywide. Libraries feel overcrowded during the reduced hours they are open. The number of children participating in library programs has fallen by more than 12,000 a year.
Seniors, children, parents, and the needy are the hardest hit by this failure of government, for the first time in our local library system’s 109-year history, to adequately fund this vital public resource. Yet the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has refused to take responsibility for addressing this budgetary shortfall and has no plan to restore library hours for the coming fiscal year.
The library system's $1.3 million shortfall represents just one-tenth of one percent of our county’s $1.3 billion budget. During this library funding "crisis" period, the Board of Supervisors has approved numerous expenditures that serve fewer citizens, are less popular, and less urgent.
For example, during last June’s budget deliberations, our supervisors voted to add $8 million to the county's $80 million road maintenance budget. And since 2006, it has also added millions more per year to fund an unpopular 250% increase in county marijuana busts, prosecutions, and incarcerations.
Sonoma County is relatively wealthy, and our government has sufficient taxpayer resources to fund the restoration of library hours for the coming year—provided that our Board of Supervisors responds to this urgent public need.
This public awareness campaign and petition is a volunteer project of Sonoma County’s Progressive Source Communications. Please help us spread this petition. Without public awareness there can be no public pressure, and without public pressure, county supervisors will continue to ignore their responsibility to restore library hours.
More information and contact information for the supervisors is available at RestoreLibraryHours.org.