Delaware Public Media

Library advocates lobby for budget support

Mar 23, 2015

Delaware library officials, patrons and advocates are hosting their annual Delaware Library Legislative Action Day on Tuesday.

 

Attendees at the Dover Public Library will learn how to advocate for First State libraries and will get tips on how to talk with their legislators about their concerns.

Cathay Keough, Executive Director of the Delaware Library Association, says the annual Delaware Library Legislative Action Day is an opportunity to thank lawmakers for their past support as well as to influence future legislation and funding.

She adds that state, county and city officials are generally very supportive of Delaware's libraries but this year, advocates will push for help in one area in particular.

 

“School libraries really need attention,” she says. “We have a statewide master plan for Delaware school libraries that we’re encouraging everyone to participate in and through that recognizing the importance of having a school librarian and a robust school library in every school.”

 

Keough points to the planned library and innovation center along the Route 9 corridor in New Castle County as evidence that state officials are listening to residents. She says the new library will be state of the art.   

 

“People who are involved in funding and construction are looking at where libraries are headed rather than just building another building that has shelves,” she says. “Delaware has the highest wifi speed in the nation and the Delaware libraries are included in that and we want to just keep going to be the first in many ways.”

 

The New Castle County Council voted last October to approve purchase of the land for the project. It’s expected to cost 21 million dollars and the county hopes to have the new library opened within two years.

 

The lobbying event begins at the Dover Public Library where attendees will get tips on how to talk with their legislators about their concerns. In the afternoon they’ll walk over to Legislative Hall and meet with lawmakers.

Since the first Library Legislative Action Day event, the Delaware Library Association reports that state funding has increased more than 150 percent.