Libraries will drift into mediocrity

 

The percentage of my property taxes that support the Miami-Dade Public Library System has decreased from 1.85 percent in 2009 to 0.06 percent in the proposed 2013 budget. The mayor’s proposal doesn’t allow our community to maintain its past generous support that let the library achieve national recognition for excellence, state support for its activities and consistent local support for the service provided.

The proposed millage rate for 2013 — 0.17250 — is an example of penny-wise, pound foolish waste. Because the proposal fails to maintain the revenue effort of 2009, state funding in years to come will be reduced by formula.

Many of the librarians who will be laid off were trained with the support of taxpayers, and this human capital, expensively acquired, will be used elsewhere in a community that considers highly trained workers as an asset. Our library system, once recognized as outstanding, will drift into mediocrity and irrelevance.

Jeff Donnelly, former chair, Miami-Dade Library Advisory Board, Miami Beach

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