Received this last week:
Good afternoon, library advocates.
As we head into busy season for the next state budget, the Pennsylvania Library Association asks that you be in touch with your state legislators and the Governor to urge their support for level funding for library services next year.
We recognize that it has been a difficult few years for our nation’s economy and for Pennsylvanians in need of work. No group understands this better than our libraries whose staff and volunteers have done their level best—even in the face of reduced budgets—to meet the increasing need for services, especially for people searching and applying for work or job training. Just consider, between 2006 and 2010, increased demand for library services showed:
- Library visits, up 4%
- Number of books and DVDs lent, up 6%
- Attendance at library programs, up 9%
- Computer searches in library databases, up 50%
- Number of items shared among libraries, up 58%
- Number of digital items opened and examined, up 72%
- Number of reference questions answered via “Ask Here PA,” up over 400%
This year, we do not seek full restoration of funding, even though the case for restoration is strong. We recognize that the effects of recession persist in PA and that the state budget is out of balance. At the same time, having lost more than 35% of state support since just 2008, librarians and library workers (those still working and those who were laid off) have already shared fully in the fiscal pain of this recession.
Today we simply ask that the consequences of the funding losses since 2008 not be worsened by an additional 5% loss. Instead we respectfully request that library funding be maintained at 2011-12 levels so that libraries can strive yet again to meet increased demand and continue to provide the best quality services possible despite funding that has already been cut more than 35%.
Please visit http://www.capwiz.com/ala/pa/home/ for more information and a sample email message that you can edit and send to your state senator and state representative, and to the Governor as well. We know that we can make a big difference when we join together in a common mission and message.
We trust that better days lie ahead. We hope and expect that a time for repairing the state’s support for libraries will come, and that libraries can and will play a vital role in moving PA Forward.
Thank you for your great support for libraries and for your help in spreading the word and contacting your elected officials. Stay tuned for more information and updates in the weeks ahead.