November 11, 2011
CALIFORNIA LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NAMES SENATOR CAROL LIU “LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR”
PASADENA, CA. The California Library Association, the association representing the public, academic, and specialty libraries in the state, has awarded Senator Carol Liu (D-Pasadena) its “2011 Legislator of the Year Award.” The award was presented to the Senator by Pasadena Public Library Director, Jan Sanders, at the CLA Annual Conference at the Pasadena Convention Center.
“Senator Liu is being recognized for her unwavering leadership in helping to preserve vulnerable public library funding in this year’s State Budget. As the Chairwoman of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, and as a member of the Senate Budget Committee, she fully understood the ‘real world’ impacts of the devastating cuts that were being proposed for three major library programs,” said Ms. Sanders.
The Governor’s January Budget proposed total elimination of $30.5 million in state funding for libraries, which would have had the consequence of eliminating the California Library Services Act (a seamless, cooperative statewide loaning and lending program between library branches), the California Library Literacy Service program (affecting 20,000 adult literacy learners who learn how to read with tutors at library branches), and the Public Library Foundation (which provides funding for the purchases of books, materials, bookmobiles, etc.). Ultimately, the 2011-12 Budget that was signed by the Governor reflected a fifty percent cut to the public library funding, instead of complete elimination.
Said CLA President Paymaneh Maghsoudi, “The legislature and the Governor are to be commended for saving the library programs from total destruction. Protecting 50 percent of the funding this year in the Budget was a huge moral victory for CLA. Senator Liu is to be particularly applauded for her willingness to take a broader look at these library programs, to recognize their importance to communities where not everyone has a computer at home or the ability to buy expensive books from a bookseller. She continued this leadership by convening a working group of library leaders, who have been charged with the development of a plan for the sustainable funding of public libraries going forward.”
The “Legislator of the Year” is a prestigious honor within CLA and was last given in 2003 to Senator Joe Simitian.