Your voice matters
Libraries like the Jefferson County R.J. Bailar Public Library (JCPL) have several different funding sources. We get most of our funding from right here in Jefferson County, through your property taxes. That’s why library membership is free to all Jefferson County residents. We also get help from fundraisers, donations and grants.
To stretch you tax dollars and donations further, we pool resources with two other Big Bend library systems: Franklin County Public Library and Wakulla County Public Library. Together we are the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries (WILD), a regional library consortium. We share a catalog, technical support, subscriptions to databases and more.
The importance of state aid
In addition to the above sources, our library is partially funded by state aid, a pool of money from Florida’s budget that helps all of the libraries in Florida. State aid is a tiny portion of the state’s budget, but is essential for rural libraries like JCPL. Because we’re a small community, we don’t have enough tax income to cover all the costs of the library on our own. State aid helps bridge the gap. In fact, while it changes from year to year, state aid is as much as 40% of the library’s budget. It’s essential for services like free internet access, affordable printing, free computer classes and interlibrary loan services.
In tough times, everyone–including state and local governments–wants to save money. Libraries across the country have faced severe budget cuts and even closure. But public libraries are even more important during a recession. Libraries help families save on their entertainment budgets, give people access to government benefits and services, provide job and computer training, and give all patrons free access to the Internet. Libraries are especially important in rural counties like Jefferson, where there are few alternatives if the library has to reduce hours or close due to budget cuts.
Community support makes a huge difference in what lawmakers choose to cut. If you’ve had a great experience at the library, please take a few minutes to write your state representatives. Tell them what your library means to you, and ask them to support state aid for public libraries and library consortiums. It only takes a few minutes, and it makes a big difference in Tallahassee.
Other ways to support the library
There are lots of other ways to show your library love!
- Visit the library often. Borrow our materials, use our computers and attend library events and classes.
- Help keep the library clean and organized by following library policies.
- Return books on time.
- Join the Friends of the Library, our library fundraising , advocacy and support group.
- Donate books, books-on-CD and DVDs.
- Buy books from the Friends of the Library Bookstore