Newport library could lose $300,000

If approved by legislators in March, proposed state budget cuts could eliminate more than $300,000 in funding for the Newport Beach Public Library, jeopardizing multiple programs, a library official said Wednesday.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed fiscal 2011-12 budget would eliminate $30.4 million in state funds for library and literacy-related programs.

“In 2010 we received grants of $318,000 from these programs, so these cuts would have a substantial impact on our library budget,” Cynthia Cowell, library services director, said in an e-mail Wednesday.

According to Cowell, the breakdown of state grant money in 2010 was: $255,838 to the California Library Services Act, $30,550 to the Public Library Foundation and $31,644 to Literary Services.

Still digesting Brown’s proposal, Cowell said Thursday that it was too early to speculate on a course of action if the budget is approved by the state Legislature.

“It all depends what [the] Legislature decides to do,” Cowell said. “If we get the money, we can go on as usual. If we don’t, we have to look at what’s the least impactful of the take-aways.”

Cowell will meet with the library board of trustees and the City Council next week, she said.

Also reeling from the Monday announcement, California Library Assn. President Paymaneh Maghsoudi issued a response online Tuesday and urged members of the Legislature to oppose the cuts.

“The revelation yesterday that Gov. Brown is proposing to eliminate all $30 million in state funding for three of California’s most valuable public library programs ... is both disastrous and disheartening,” according to Maghsoudi.

The release stated that library funding had been cut 75% under the two previous administrations.

“The public libraries have done more than their share to assist with the budget deficit over the years by absorbing painful cuts,” according to Maghsoudi. “The time has come to stop the bleeding and CLA respectfully asks the members of the Legislature to oppose these proposed cuts to our valuable programs.”

Brown defended his proposal, which totals $12.5 billion in reduced state spending, as “vast and historic,” on his web page.

“These cuts will be painful, requiring sacrifice from every sector of the state, but we have no choice,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “For 10 years, we’ve had budget gimmicks and tricks that pushed us deep into debt. We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth.”

According to the release, in addition to $12.5 billion in spending reductions, the proposed budget also includes $12 billion in revenue extensions and modifications, $1.9 billion in “other solutions” and provide for a $1 billion “rainy day” reserve.