In a phone call to FOSEL, and in a subsequent e-mail, State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz said she, and her colleagues Representatives Byron Rushing and Aaron Michlewitz, had asked BPL President Amy Ryan to make the state's budget cuts to state and regional services instead of forcing branch libraries to absorb them. Neighborhood libraries, used by Boston residents, are usually paid for by municipal budgets, while state funding goes for regional programs, such as the library of last recourse program, and digital and electronic services, available to everyone inside and outside of Boston. South End state legislators are of the opinion that, if the financial crisis warrants severe cutbacks, Bostonians should not have to subsidize library services accessed for free by every computer user on the planet while their own libraries are closed to pay for such services.
"Of course, Boston residents will also feel cuts to electronic services," said Senator Chang-Diaz, but that, under the dismal circumstances described by the BPL, branch libraries should be cut last.
"Libraries are a priority for me," said Chang-Diaz. "That is a no-brainer."
FOSEL is in the process of organizing a meeting with South End state representatives to update South End residents on their efforts to save the libraries this year, as well as how to stabilize BPL as a system for the long term.
Details to follow.