The Friends of South End Library (a neighborhood library in the Boston Public Library system) recently asked both of Boston’s mayoral candidates, Councillor at Large John Connolly and Rep. Marty Walsh, to responds to number of questions on library-related topics.
Both candidates were asked questions about:
1. Library Hours
2. Library Governance
3. Capital Improvements
4. Building of New Libraries
5. The BPL Foundation
6. Library Trust Funds
7. Stabilizing Library Funding
Here’s What Both Candidates Had to Say About Stabilizing Library Funding
Question From Friends of the South End Library: Would you support a dedicated tax for public libraries as part of the property tax, or come up with another fiscal instrument, to ensure a long-term strategy to stabilize and expand the BPL budget to meet the exponential growth in demand for library services and community space?
WALSH: Before considering additional taxes for the library, I would like to review the current budget of the library and ensure that it is operating in a fiscally responsible manner. Since ensuring a high quality education is key to my administration, I would not foresee considering cuts to library services. Just as I have pledged to provide universal pre-K education to all 4 year olds, I intend to make sure that libraries are open and available in all the neighborhoods to support this. While it is valuable to have lobbying services for the library, the people of Boston are the most powerful lobbyists themselves. When there was the threat of cuts to the library, they made their voices heard. I stood firm in the legislature to support the neighborhood branches, and I would do so even more firmly as Mayor. I would look forward to working with Library Administration and the Trustees to ensure a healthy and long-term plan for the expansion and success of the entire BPL system.
CONNOLLY: If we re-envision libraries as centers of knowledge and community linked to schools, colleges, and other institutions in our neighborhoods, then I believe we can ensure a strong future for the BPL. Recognizing that there are many important priorities competing for taxpayer dollars, I am committed to working with you on strategies for ensuring that libraries have adequate, stable, long-term funding in place.