July 22, 2014

Louisiana: “Official Wants to De-Fund Library, Users Should ‘Go Back to Mexico’”

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The vote discussed in the following post/articles will take place tomorrow.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Library funding in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, may be diverted to a new jail thanks to a legislator who doesn’t approve of the library’s programs. Jail proponent and chair of the Lafourche Parish Council Lindel Toups supports a ballot measure that would take funding away from libraries.

“They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” Toups told the local Tri-Parish Times, referencing Biblioteca Hispana, a Spanish-language section of one of the nine branch libraries. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. … Them junkies and hippies and food stamps [recipients] and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps [on the Internet]. I see them do it.”

[Clip]

Lafourche Parish is in the southern part of Louisiana, to the west of New Orleans. About 43% of its households do not have Internet access at home, while the library provides free Internet access with 186 computers. More than half of the Parish’s residents, 53%, hold library cards, and in 2013, the library system has served more than 280,000 visitors.

From the Tri-Parish Times:

Advocates of the rededication say the revenue stream is the one way to finance a new $25 million jail without raising taxes on parish citizens. They point to the library’s budget, continually growing, as evidence that the system is collecting more money than it needs.

Library officials contend that increased spending, done at deficit levels by drawing from a fund balance, is necessary to make up for self-inflicted spending cuts during a massive capital expansion project. They also note that seven years ago, the system voluntarily reduced its tax rates by 2 mills, double the amount posed on this weekend’s ballot.

From The Daily Comet

Friends of the Library have posted yellow signs across the parish encouraging voters to support “books not crooks.” The phrase has become the rallying cry for library supporters.

It’s because of that support that Library Director Laura Sanders said she is confident of the outcome.

“We’re certainly hopeful,” she said.

[Clip]

If the measure passes, the libraries expect a their revenue to drop from a projected $4.7 million to $3.9 million. Salaries and benefits cost $3.1 million, Sanders said.

Video

Comments from Both Sides in this WVUE Report

 

Additional Coverage and Comment

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.