Libraries are impacted by the State Budget Impasse

With School Year Looming, Pressure is Building; Progress is Slight
Posted By Glenn R. Miller, Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Time for a six-week update:

Both sides in the budget struggle seem locked in place and immovable.  The Governor’s Chief of Staff, Katie McGinty, resigned to become a candidate for United States Senate.  Her successor as Chief of Staff, Mary Isenhour, is respected by both parties and, it is hoped, her pragmatism will be a welcome addition to the talks.

Two special elections last week yielded one new Republican House member from Cumberland County, Greg Rothman, and one new Democratic House member from Delaware County, Leanne Krueger-Braneky.  Three more special elections will take place on Tuesday, August 11 in Philadelphia-area districts previously represented by Democratic members.

One can sense that the political heat is growing ever so steadily as we approach the beginning of the school year.  We know already that Pennsylvania’s 29 District Library Centers are feeling the pinch since, historically, those payments are issued in July.  In addition, at least one library that relies on funding from a local school district budget faces a delay in those payments until the state budget is resolved.  Other local libraries that rely on funding from or through school district budgets will likely face a similar payment delays.

We urge you to keep up the library pressure by Taking Action now.  Sent an email before?  Round up other library supporters, lean on your friends, or fire up your family.  This is no time to be hold back.

As library advocates, we need to keep up the pressure by stressing that:

  • Libraries ARE part of education;
  • Any plan aimed at improving education must include libraries; and,
  • After nine years of stagnant and declining budgets, libraries need and deserve increases proportionate with any new money targeted for pre-K, K-12 and higher ed.

Please Take Action now.  Follow the link to a sample email message that you can send as is, or you can edit it to make it more personal.  Help to keep the library message front and center by sending an email today.  Thanks for your vocal support and your vigilance.

Glenn Miller


The federal government funds public libraries.

False. Lancaster County’s public libraries raise a substantial portion of their budgets through fundraising efforts Lancaster County’s libraries far exceed the national average.

All libraries have the same hours of operation.

False. Visit the individual library’s page for hours at your local library.

Many public libraries in Lancaster County have a book shop that is open year round.

True. Check with your local public library if they have a library book shop. In fact, the Lancaster Public Library also has an off-site book store at 225 North Marshall Street in Lancaster.

You can use the Library's online research tools such as ProQuest for homework and research papers at home.

True. Visit the website and enter your library card number for access to the websites.

Our libraries seem to have plenty of staff and in some instances appear to have too many.

False. It’s important to keep in mind many of the people you see stacking shelves or assisting in the library are actually volunteers.

I don't know how to set up an email account and the libraries do not offer computer help.

False. Several libraries offer help with email account set up, searching the Internet, and using Windows. Click here for the library overview of services to learn more.

You have to return a book to the same library that you checked it out from.

False. You can return a book to any library in the Library System of Lancaster County.

100% of funding for public libraries comes from the state government?

False. While the state of Pennsylvania does help support your local library, these dollars are prone to cuts and are inconsistent from year to year. For most libraries, these dollars account for a very small portion of their overall budget. Your public library counts on local support and contributions through fundraising to raise the majority of their annual budget.