Leach Library Director Weighs in on LSTA Protection

With recent news of the possibility of funds being cut for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) under the proposed federal budget, local libraries have been weighing in on how to help protect funding for vital library services.

“I’m very concerned about funds being cut not only from the LSTA, but from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.” Leach Library Director, Barbara Ostertag-Holtkamp said. “Both of those have an impact on the state library, we get a lot of services from them.” She further explained that should the worst happen, it would be up to the state librarian what services would have to be cut, and that he had sent the Leach Library an email at the end of March detailing, “how catastrophic the affects would be.”

Ostertag-Holtkamp explained that the Leach Library borrows roughly 150 books a month for patrons, and loan about the same amount each month, and that Leach has 8 book groups that the library borrows books for, all of which would be impacted, should funds be cut.

Another service currently available to patrons thanks to funding by the LSTA is the Leach Library’s membership to the Downloadable Audio Consortium, which allows the Leach Library to provide audio and ebooks. These services are all coordinated through the State Library, and if that service were to be eliminated, there would be a substantially higher cost to it than the library receives for it now.

When asked what can be done to prevent these issues, Ostertag-Holtkamp had this to say:

“What we’ve been doing as library professionals and concerned citizens is we’ve been sending different letters to state representatives and senators, Shaheen and Hassan, trying to explain to them what the impacts would be, how it would impact basically everyone that uses public library services…” She reiterated that these services are too important to lose, and that by sending enough letters, hopefully officials will “look at the impacts and decide that it’s too much to lose.”

For more information on what the LSTA does for New Hampshire, visit: www.nh.gov/nhsl/nhlac/lsta_2000.html

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