Local libraries had just launched a social media campaign in the last day or so against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's "Plan B" budget, taking to Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social, they could to alert the public to potentially devastating cuts in library services.
The “Plan B” budget is the alternative spending and revenue plan that Malloy had said might be subsituted for the recently approved state budget if public employee unions didn't agree to concessions to fill a multi-billion dollar budget gap.
One of the proposals in that alternative budget was to close the Connecticut State Library. Local librarians say that would have set library services back decades and cost some agencies millions of dollars in related purchased services, said Kelly Marszycki, of the Rathbun Free Library in East Haddam.
The Rathbun Library was one of hundreds in Connecticut that were trying, through Facebook and Twitter postings, to name a few, to get their patrons to call their state lawmakers to oppose the closing of the state library under the alternative budget.
“We’re Facebooking and Twittering away,” Marszycki said.
Her library, like ones in Berlin and Durham, posted these messages on their Facebook pages: “Call your representatives and inform your patrons that support of the Connecticut State Library is essential to all libraries in Connecticut!”
If the state library was closed essential services to local libraries would have ended. One of the most popular of those, she said, is an inter-library lending program under which anyone with a library card can borrow or return books at any library in the state, not just the library in their hometown.
“Each year there are literally millions of materials traveling around the state” under the program, she said.
In addition, she said, the popular IConn program, the state’s online library database, would also have “come to a screeching halt” under “Plan B.”
Most libraries, she said, can not afford to offer the program, which the state library provides to local libraries for free.
“This would put us back decades,” she said.
The impetus for the social media campaign among the state’s 170 public libraries, Marszycki said, came in part from the Connecticut Library Association which sent warnings to local lending libraries about the need for patron support of the state library.
On its website, the association has a long list of services provided by the state library, including aid to local libraries, the State Law Library, the State Archives and the Museum of Connecticut History.