The following letter from NHLA President Lori Fisher explains the basic reason why libraries may be badly affected by HB 1274 which was scheduled for a legislative hearing in Concord on Friday Jan. 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm.
The legislative hearing for HB 1274 (seeking to abolish the NH Department of Cultural Resources and move the State Library under the NH Department of State) will take place tomorrow, Friday 1/20, at 1:15 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building, Rm. 306. As NHLA president, I have been asked to speak at the hearing regarding the impact of this bill on libraries in NH. The NHLA Executive Board voted their opposition to the bill earlier this week through an electronic vote, which empowers me to speak on behalf of NHLA.
The basic impact of this bill on libraries in New Hampshire is twofold. First, the business office and grants management personnel that is shared by the entire Department of Cultural Resources would be eliminated, leaving the state library without federal grants management support. This action would likely cause service disruption, impacting all libraries in the state that use federally-funded services. New Hampshire residents depend on these services to provide equal access to materials and information that individual towns would not be able to afford on their own, and thus these state services help local libraries to keep their costs down. Second, libraries across New Hampshire have always worked collaboratively with many other organizations through the Department of Cultural Resources’ programs and initiatives (such as the NH State Arts Council). Losing this collaborative ability will not only hurt the overall cultural community of the state, but would hinder future collaborative efforts that have actually been growing and flourishing since the Department was created in 1985.
For further information about HB 1274, visit this link.
Lori A. Fisher, NH Library Association President, 2012 & Director of Baker Free Library
Written testimony, protesting the impact this bill would have on arts programming and library services in New Hampshire, can be sent to:
Representative Carol McGuire
Chair, Executive Departments and Administration Committee
New Hampshire House of Representatives
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301