Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

What's Going on in Pennsylvania?

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

What's Going on in Pennsylvania?

Article excerpt

Steven L. Carr, director of the Lancaster County (PA) Library, wrote an article in the library's publication Outlook which again details the sad situation in regard to library funding in his state, and specifically in Lancaster County. You may recognize that county as a bastion of the Amish, along with a lot of tourist attractions, like the Strasburg Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum.

Steven explains that the Library System of Lancaster County (not the same as the Lancaster County Library) is a planning body for countywide library service and distributes money received from the state and the county to the individual libraries throughout the county.

Steven goes on to say, "Local library funding varies widely from township to township. Some libraries also have private endowments, or gifts given to support the library. The total library income per person is around $8.

"That may sound like a lot of money, but $8 doesn't cover the cost of one book for each resident. The average library income per person in the state is $14. The national average is $21. Libraries in every state surrounding us spend at least twice as much for library service as we do."

I thought that perhaps there had been a real breakthrough in Pennsylvania funding when I saw an article in Library Hotline headlined "Pennsylvania's Record PL Funds Invested in Technology and ILL." Well, when you read the article carefully, you find that general state aid grew 3 percent, and the "record" was really a new $7 million program to connect all libraries in the state to the Internet by 1999. …

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