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Louisana eliminates state funding for libraries

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Arely D. Castillo/The News-Star/AP

(Read caption) Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal signed a state budget June 15 that eliminated almost $900,000 for libraries.

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The state  budget approved last month by Louisana Governor Bobby Jindal eliminates funding that usually goes to the state's public libraries. The budget cuts  $896,000 that the facilities typically earmark for Internet access, buying new books, and other services.

“In tight budget times, we prioritized funding for health care and education,” commissioner of administration Paul Rainwater, who is also the governor’s chief budget aide, said in a statement. “Operations such as local libraries can be supported with local, not state dollars.”

Michael DiResto, the spokesman for the Louisiana Division of Administration, told the Library Journal that the new budget includes two federal grants for technology that would allow the state library to purchase e-books, which local libraries can also utilize, and funds for local libraries to host technology training and buy necessary equipment.

However, the Library Journal pointed out that the second grant can provide technology training, but is otherwise specifically for providing laptops for patrons to check out and for the upkeep of technology workstations for blind patrons. Libraries would not be allowed to use the grant for desktop computers inside the library, an area previously covered by state funding.

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