After Months of Lobbying, Florida Legislators Restore Library Aid
State funding for public libraries maintained at $21.2M; "Library Guy" lauded for activism
Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 04/28/2010
- Library aid almost axed last year
- 60,000 messages in six weeks
- Alliance with counties also helped
At midnight on April 26, the House accepted a Senate offer to restore state aid to its current level of $21.2 million, according to Charlie Parker, Chair of the Florida Library Association (FLA) Legislative Committee.
The Library Guy
Senate Budget Chair J.D. Alexander, who announced the offer, made specific reference to a ubiquitous citizen lobbyist, systems librarian Paul Clark, known as "The Library Guy."
Clark, known for carrying signs highlighting the funding issue, gave up most of his vacation time at the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries (according to the St. Petersburg Times) to push for funding.
Parker said "Clark... has pretty much lived in the Capitol keeping the issue in front of legislators and the press for 6 weeks." While Clark wasn't there at the time, he soon returned with a sign saying "Thank You."
Others to credit
Parker also credited FLA lobbyist Chris Lyon, Small County Coalition coordinator Chris Doolin, and several leaders of the Department of State, who "barely left the Capitol all weekend long."
Beyond allying with the Florida Association of Counties, library advocates relied on regular press releases and contacts with legislators, sending more than 60,000 messages over the last six weeks.