Monday, February 03, 2003

Bush wants to close book on library flap
By John Kennedy
Sentinel Staff Writer

February 2, 2003

Not long before it was revealed that Gov. Jeb Bush planned to close the Florida State Library, lay off the entire staff and move the collection to Florida State University, the governor issued a proclamation declaring February as Florida Library Appreciation Month.

Bush, who has said promotion of reading is a top priority of his second term, wants to shut down the state's main library and move almost 1 million books and historical items, including 16th-century maps, early documents on Walt Disney World and some of the oldest photos of Florida.

The budget-cutting move has drawn fire, and even FSU said it doesn't have space or money to house the items.

Parts of FSU's own collection are in warehouses, and the university wouldn't get any more money or staff to deal with the new collections.

Told last week that the flap doesn't seem to be going away, Bush answered, "So, stop writing about it."

The governor's proclamation praised the importance of libraries and said the month is "to encourage recognition of all of our Florida libraries that provide outstanding service to our communities."

Good thing he didn't proclaim "Florida Library Year."

Copyright © 2003, Orlando Sentinel

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