State Funding Increase for Libraries Needed Now, Not Later
The Pennsylvania Library Association is asking the General Assembly for an increase of $1.94 million to the public library subsidy line in the 2017-2018 Pennsylvania budget. This would take total state funding for public libraries to $56.41 million - a 3.56% increase over the current funding.
•Pennsylvania public libraries receive the same amount of state aid as they did in 2010. The current $54.47 million public library subsidy is the result of a $21 million (32%) cut in 2006. Meanwhile, inflation has reached almost 10% since 2010.
•Libraries directly connect with our citizens – including hours beyond the regular business day – helping them access key government resources such as referrals to local resources for battling the opioid crisis, workforce development online curricula for career building, business tools for employers, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programming and kits for school-age programming, significant early education learning for a majority of our population, and vital computer and internet access.
•We know that in the face of state departmental cuts and consolidations, public libraries, when properly funded, will be the key to filling the needs of our citizens in a cost-effective way. A recent example of this was when the PA Department of Health, one of our PA Forward partners, asked us to assist them with their “Stopping the Flu Starts with You” Campaign. The department needed ways to connect residents with resources and information in their home communities. Through our efforts, we identified more than 40 libraries willing to provide space, event organization and staff time to assist the department in getting this very important message out to the our most treasured resources – residents throughout Pennsylvania.
•In addition to the physical resources in the building, and 24/7 accessibility to electronic resources, libraries offer the human connection from professional, credentialed librarians and staff that assist all patrons. In a day and age where the internet is abuzz with discussions of what is fake versus credible news, our librarians are there, assisting their users with locating reliable, accurate information so they are making informed decisions that may have a long-term impact on their lives.
•Libraries have already made staff cuts since the funding cuts of 2006, put off repairs, and stretched every dollar in their lean budgets. The need for an increase in library funding is NOW, not later.
Pennsylvania Library Association Fast Facts – Public Libraries:
•There are 456 public libraries with 629 outlets that receive state aid.
•State aid requires minimum standards of open hours, professional librarians who meet rigorous credentialing standards, and significant local investment.
•Approximately 85% of public libraries in PA are 501(c)(3) organizations that rely on the combination of state and local funding, donations, and fundraising for operational budgets.
•Libraries offer services to library card holders 24/7 through digital content including eBooks, audiobooks, and databases. In the latest data from 2014, there were more than 5.29 million registered library users, and more than 66.14 million items circulated in Pennsylvania public libraries.
Governor Wolf’s proposed budget for 2017-2018 calls for level funding for the public library subsidy and a $12,000 cut to the State Library. If you want to see the full details, here is a link. 2017-2018 Governor's proposed budget
We recognize that level funding does not address increasing expenses. However, with the political climate regarding the current fiscal year revenue shortfall, prison closure, furloughs, and government agency mergers, we are relieved that the public library subsidy did not get reduced.
This is the beginning of the budget process. As the Legislature does their analysis, and makes comments, we will be paying attention and engaging you throughout the process. We will all have work to do over the next few months. YOU can help us by gathering success stories – both from the voices of library staff and patrons.
Your continued membership, with the numbers of professionals and libraries represented, is critical to our success in gaining support for libraries. With a portion of your membership dues investment, we can hire Greenlee Partners, a professional lobbying firm, to help us gain access to important conversations with the Governor’s staff and legislators.
Please stay connected!
Christi Buker, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association
The 2017-2018 PA Legislative Session has begun. Committee leadership positions have been finalized and the lists of the new House chairs are posted and the Senate chairs and leadership here on our website. Committee memberships are still being decided.
Governor Wolf will deliver his budget address to the legislature on Tuesday, February 7. BEFORE that happens, we sincerely urge you to call your local district offices for your representatives and senators. Even better than calling would be a quick stop in their office – drop off your current library event calendar, newsletter, a business card, or simply say thank you for agreeing to be a public servant. If you get to meet the staff people and not your elected official, please remember that these individuals are the behind-the-scenes folks who often have great influence on their bosses. In fact, many of these staffers serve years longer than the elected officials and are very knowledgeable about the community and political structure. It is good to spend time and build relationships with the staff!
It is important that you do this now – before the only conversation is about the budget. There will be plenty of conversation about the budget this spring, but right now, please focus on sharing all the great things your library is doing and provides beyond your book collection!
The Pennsylvania Library Association Legislative Information Committee met on January 9, and are preparing plans and actions that will advance all libraries and librarians. It is expected to be a challenging year for getting a budget completed with the current revenue shortfall. We need the support of as many librarians and library institutions as possible. If you are a member, we are grateful for your involvement. If you are not a member, we encourage you to join YOUR professional association that will advocate on your behalf! Join now at – http://palibraries.org/
Let’s move PA Forward through strong libraries and librarians!
Pennsylvania Library Association
Posted By Carrie Turner,
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Legislative Committee Update
Greetings! The Legislative Committee met on November 14 and received reports from Greenlee Partners and Deputy Secretary of Education Glenn Miller. One concern at the state level is the deficit which is expected to exceed $1B. There is little agreement about revenue enhancements which puts budget cuts on the table. It is important for the library community to engage with elected officials, at all levels, emphasizing our important roles in promoting Pre-K literacy and in supporting job seekers to find employment. Invite a legislator to a library program or for a photo opportunity. Collect library stories to share. Local relationships are vital.
Good luck with your efforts. The Legislative Committee of Pennsylvania Library Association wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. Our next meeting will be scheduled early in 2017 so that we may continue to work towards sustainable funding for all libraries.
Submitted by: Karla J. Trout, MSLS, Adams County Library System
·The FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill in both chambers includes funding for several programs of significant importance to the library community: LSTA, IAL, and Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While the House Committee bill provides increased support for two of our priorities, it also eliminates funding for another.
oFirst, the good news…
§Both the House and Senate funding bills include increased funding for LSTA and its Grants to States program, rejecting the President’s proposal to cut funding. LSTA Grants to States would receive $155.9 million in the House bill: a slight increase over FY 2016 ($155.7 million), though $240,000 less than what the Senate requested in May ($156.1 million). The President had requested only $154.8 million. Overall LSTA funding would be boosted in the House bill to $183.0 million. That compares with $183.3 in the Senate, $182.4 in the President’s request, and $182.9 ultimately approved by Congress in FY 2016).
§New this year is a block grant created with bipartisan support under Title IV of ESSA The “Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants” (SSAEG will provide supplemental funding to help states and school districts underwrite a “well-rounded” educational experience for students, including STEM and arts programs. Best of all, libraries are expressly authorized to receive SSAEG funds. Although SSAEG was originally authorized in the ESSA at $1.65 billion, the President requested only $500 million while the Senate approved less at $300 million. The House approved a higher level of $1 billion but still below authorized levels for FY2017.
oNext, the bad news is that House appropriators have proposed to eliminate all funding for school libraries through the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. According to the House Committee’s Report, “The Committee has chosen to focus resources on core formula-based education programs instead of narrowly-focused competitive grants such as this one.” IAL received $27 million in FY2016, which was also the funding level requested by the President and supported in the Senate bill. One half of IAL funding is reserved for school libraries with the remaining open to any national non-profit by application.
·Congress returned from its recess on September 6, leaving them only a few weeks to adopt funding measures to keep the government open beyond the October 1 start of the Fiscal Year. Congress probably will be forced to enact a “Continuing Resolution,” (CR), to fund the Government. Under CR rules the previous year’s level of funding is maintained for most programs. Vigorous discussions on the Hill already have begun as to what the length of the CR can and should be. If a CR that extends into the new calendar year is adopted, the new President will be forced to negotiate government-wide spending levels with Congress soon after being sworn in, possibly even before key Cabinet and other budget-related positions are filled.
oCodifies the “presumption of openness” for government documents for future administrations;
oHarnesses technology to improve the FOIA process;
oLimits, to a period of 25 years, the period of time that agencies may keep records of their internal deliberations confidential; and
oIncreases the effectiveness of the FOIA by strengthening the Office of Government Information Services (created in the last FOIA reform bill, the OPEN Government Act of 2007)
·Librarians and library supporters are encouraged to write to the US Senators who voted YEA to the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as our new Librarian of Congress to say thank you. Both Senators Casey and Toomey voted YEA to Dr. Hayden’s nomination.
ALA LIBRARY LEGISLATIVE DAY 2017
·It’s not too early to mark your calendars for May 1-2, 2017, to plan to join us in Washington, DC, to continue our advocacy efforts with our US Senators and Congress Representatives.