Arts and Culture Local News

More then 100 people braved the weather to be in Frankfort today for Kentucky Libraries Day. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

A rally in the Capitol rotunda comes after public libraries throughout the commonwealth have seen state support fall by 22 percent, or $900,000.

One of the speakers was Louisville Free Public Library Director Craig Buthod, who the Library Journal recently named its Librarian of the Year.

“The forces of public libraries are here,” he said. “Modestly and humbly, we ask your help, the elected leaders of the commonwealth, in making sure public libraries don’t crash and burn, that we don’t fall short of what our possibilities are, that we don’t sell education short in libraries across the whole commonwealth.”

The rally, organized in large part by the Kentucky Library Association, also included legislators who are part of a bipartisan caucus focused on public libraries.

State Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson is co-chair of that caucus. She says legislators need to recognize how important libraries are to Kentuckians economic survival, especially during a recession.

“In these times, services like libraries go up, the needs are greater,” she says. “And I think that we acknowledge that. We can talk about it, discuss it and hopefully, again — it’s all about prioritization.”

Library advocates also appealed to lawmakers to restore funding for the state’s 75-year-old bookmobile program, which serves some of the commonwealth’s neediest and most isolated populations.

For more on Kentucky’s bookmobiles, read or listen to Bookmobiles Weather Economic Crisis, So Far.