City Budget Cuts to Affect Libraries

From the San Diego Public Library Foundation : Recently the Library Department, and all City Departments, were asked to prepare a 4% reduction to the budget for Fiscal Year 2021. For the libraries this would amount to $2.2M. This cut would have a dramatic impact on open hours at our local libraries particularly on weekends. Sunday hours could be eliminated entirely and Saturday hours would be reduced. The Foundation recommends no cuts to library hours.

Currently the materials General Fund budget is $1.8M, the same as it was in 2009 and one of the lowest in the nation for a major city. The materials budget has declined 22.4% per capita since 2010 when adjusted for inflation. This decline has significantly put the City’s ability to purchase critical digital resources at risk. The Foundation therefore recommends a modest increase of $500,000/year for three years to the library’s material budget.

We need to protect funding for programs. Currently, the Library Department provides only $200,000, or $5,555/branch, of General Fund money for innovative programs throughout the entire library system. During the Fiscal Year 2020 the City Council provided an additional $200,000 of one-time resources. It is critical to maintain this funding in Fiscal Year 2021. The Foundation recommends maintaining a total of $400,000 for library programs in the budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

If you would like to be an advocate for your library, please contact our City Council representative (District 1), Barbara Bry at or telephone 619.236.6611. Let’s do all we can to keep our libraries open and thriving.

For more information, visit the San Diego Public Library Foundation at

For related information from UCCA, visit


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