The state library division could lose up to $1 million in federal money if state funds are cut back by more than $100,000 or $150,000, said Amy Owen, state library director.
The Legislature has appropriated almost $4.3 million to the library division for fiscal year 1988-89, but proposed tax-limitation bills could hurt library services."A cutback would see us lose our entire federal appropriation," Owen said during a recent State Library Board meeting in Provo Public Library. "If tax limitations pass, cuts to the library would be catastrophic."
Programs pertaining to public health and safety would be squeezed, but not like other programs, she said. The first thing cut would be recreation and libraries.
The $4.25 million appropriation is an $80,000 increase in funds and will expand grants to public libraries throughout the state. Bookmobile services would probably suffer the most from library budget cuts, Owen said.
The library division plans to use part of next year's money on a computer Braille program to produce books for the blind.
Even without reductions in the state library budget, the board struggles to find money for improvements at university and college libraries across the state.
"Inflation is unkind to libraries, especially academic libraries," Owen said. "Costs for telecommunications, books and other library materials have increased faster than inflation."
University of Utah students have recently lobbied in behalf of tuition increases to pay for additional library materials and space, she said.
The library board is overseeing a study to review academic library technology and resource sharing.
"There is no question institutional libraries need additional dollars," Owen said.