Girls go to library to research topics

Connect with YOUR FUTURE

Today’s public libraries are the champions of youth and an important partner in child development.


The Reality Of Funding

Today more than ever, there are many misconceptions about how libraries receive their annual revenue to pay for things such as staff salaries, new buildings and, most importantly, books and other resources. Here is what you need to know:


Reality of Funding for Lancaster County’s Public Libraries**
(Average percentages countywide)
**2014 State Annual Report Data


23% of Library budgets come from State Funding
Only 27% of library budgets come from local government sources.
 Our libraries raise on average 50% of their budgets through fundraising events, which takes them away from providing essential
library services to the public.

  • State Funding to Libraries was cut by 39% in 2008 and hasn’t been reinstated.
  • Often inconsistent and subject to cuts
  • Not mandated like Education Funding
Local Funding
  • Only 27% of our funding comes from local Municipal/Government sources
  • Cuts in Funding to Municipalities impact library allocations
  • County funding supports overarching services such as technology, online library catalog, the bookmobile, countywide youth and PR services.
  • No tax levy for libraries in Lancaster County
Library Generated Funding-2
  • Library Fundraisers
  • Donations
  • Fees & Fines
  • Late fees and book sales are not sufficient sources for operating costs or program activities.
  • Volunteers*
Grant Funding
  • Federal, State & Local Grants
  • Funds programs within the library
  • Subject to guideline limits
  • Not for Operating Expenses
  • Availability is lessening
  • Highly competitive


Lancaster County’s Public Libraries have to raise, on average, 50% of their operating budgets through their fundraising efforts to keep their doors open; while libraries across PA on average raise only 18% of their operating budgets.  Libraries across PA also receive 65% support from their Local Government sources, while Lancaster County’s Local Government support is only 27%.

*Many people in the library who appear to be staff are actually volunteers. With the rise in new technology there is an increased need for staff with technology expertise.

Sources: 2014 State Annual Report Data and interviews with Library Directors conducted by Moxie Marketing and Design during visits to public library locations in Lancaster County (October, 2013).


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.