The proposed Texas budget will eliminate state funding for libraries, cutting key programs at academic libraries, public schools and public libraries.

The budget’s first draft calls for a complete withdrawal of state funds for the TexShare program, which provides college students with access to thousands of online journals, reference and research materials.

Another library program facing dramatic cuts is the Loan Star Libraries Grants, which delivers direct state aid to almost all of Texas’ more than 500 local public libraries.

Texas has eliminated all funding for this critical program, which is used to help libraries stay open longer, upgrade equipment and provide support services for students, distance learners and job-seekers.

According to the Library Journal, over 400 of the affected libraries in the state serve rural communities. These small-town libraries don’t have the kind of local funding needed to run efficiently without state aid.

Why should the student body care about these institutions when we have our own library that provides sufficient service? UTSA students will be the next generation of community leaders and the sooner students start actively fulfilling their civic duties to the community the better.

Libraries serve the city of San Antonio, and as students of the university, it is important that we stay involved in the conflicts and controversies in the San Antonio community.

These cuts won’t be the last. If the Texas education budget passes, our tuition may increase by $1,023. Why focus on libraries, though? This issue should be a call to action to those unaware of the major issues affecting education.

It should not take the closing down of a community college, spikes in tuition or the increasing lack of financial aid to invigorate students to get involved. We should take control of our educational system by organizing our communities and exercising our right to vote for officials who care more about education than about the bottom line.

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