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Legislative Update - State budget status

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, April 13, 2017

The PA House of Representatives version of the state budget was put forward as HB218.  It was approved in the House one day after it was introduced.  Bill info is here.   It is now in the PA Senate for consideration.  

As noted in the last Legislative Update to you – this budget leaves the Public Library Subsidy and the Services to the Visually Impaired & Disabled at the same budget amount as last year.  However, it includes a significant cut of $461,000 to the Library Access line item, and a cut of $142,000 to the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. 

The Library Access line includes funding for three vital services –

1.       POWER Library network of electronic resources – including cost-effective statewide subscriptions to research services that range from school-age appropriate materials, newspapers, magazines, genealogy, academic materials, and health materials.

2.       Statewide catalog (formerly Access PA database program) - with the largest online catalog of its kind in North America.  It includes the library holdings of more than 2500 public, school, academic, and special libraries. 

3.       Interlibrary Delivery Service (IDS) which makes interlibrary loan possible. 

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries budget line item provides invaluable direct and indirect support to libraries in staff, training, and materials.  

The PA Senate will be in session again beginning Monday, April 17.  While the Senate traditionally does not move as quickly as the House, our timely outreach on the budget is important. 

Talking points to share with PA Senators:

1.       We don’t need to “thank” them for level funding.  Over time, level funding has meant cuts because expenses have not remained level.

We are at the same funding level as 2010, and had a 32% cut in 2006.  Inflation since 2010 is almost 10%.

2.       Do not take anything away from libraries!  We rely on all four budget line items for quality and accessible library services to our citizens.

3.       If the Senate is considering options to show a positive mark – investing in libraries is an easy decision and impacts all ages!  Consider:

a.       Libraries directly connect with citizens – including hours beyond the regular business day.

b.       Libraries provide access to high-priority occupation resources including workforce development online curricula, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programming and kits for school-age learning.

c.       Early education to a wide majority of birth through pre-k ages and their caregivers, not just targeted populations.

d.       Many PA residents do not have in-home internet or computers.  Libraries are reliable and safe access points for everyone.

e.       Highly credentialed librarians help patrons find the right answers – not a million hits on Google, and teach the difference between fake news and credible sources.  

We know that libraries are also facing the threat of cuts in federal funding with the proposed 100% elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  There will be more information on the federal challenges in the next week, and we will share how we will work together to tackle those.

Great stories are being shared during this National Library Week – look on our Facebook pages for details.  Be sure to share those local success stories with your PA Senator. 

Please stay with us – and we will work together for strong state support for libraries!

Christi Buker
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association

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House GOP proposed state budget

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Republicans of the PA House of Representatives released their proposed state budget on Monday, April 3.  Here are the  numbers:

 

2016-17 Budget

2017-18

Governor’s proposal

2017-18

House GOP proposal

Public Library Subsidy

 

$54,470,000

$54,470,000

$54,470,000

Library services for visually impaired & disabled

 

$2,567,000

$2,567,000

$2,567,000

Library access

 

$3,071,000

$3,071,000

$2,610,000

Office of Commonwealth Libraries

 

$2,017,000

$2,005,000

$1,875,000

 

The Public Library Subsidy remains level as does the funding for Library services for visually impaired & disabled.  However, there is a $461,000 cut in library access and $142,000 total cut for Office of Commonwealth Libraries. 

The Pennsylvania Library Association is working with Greenlee Partners to determine if there was any reasoning behind these specific cuts.  With the strong push by the legislature to avoid any increase in taxes, this is likely a part of their proposed solution.  The budget is not a done deal.  Please take a moment to call your legislators and let them know, libraries need more funding, not less.

Next week is National Library Week, April 9-15, 2017.  This is a great opportunity to alert your elected officials – and ask them to be supportive of the good work that libraries do in their communities.  This is also a great time to reach out to your federal officials as they will be back in their local offices for a two-week spring break.   If you are able to get a local government proclamation in support of National Library Week, please send us an email, and a picture if you can.  We’d love to highlight the Pennsylvanians care about libraries! 

Other updates:

The Legislative Information Committee met on April 3, and is actively preparing for National Library Legislative Day, May 1-2, in Washington, DC.  Online registration is available until April 7! Register for National Library Legislative Day!

We are working in collaboration with ALA to fight the proposed elimination of Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) which distributes the federal funds through Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) that are vital to all Pennsylvania libraries whether through direct or indirect supportive services, materials, and staff.  More action alerts from ALA are expected after the federal break. ALA - Fight for Libraries!

If you have questions, useful comments, or patron-impact quotes, please let me know – your voice, and your membership matters at the Pennsylvania Library Association.

Christi Buker
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association
717-766-7663
www.palibraries.org
www.paforward.org

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State funding increase for libraries needed now, not later

Posted By Christi Buker, Friday, March 3, 2017

State Funding Increase for Libraries Needed Now, Not Later

Request:

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. 

Justification:

   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.

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Governor's budget is out

Posted By Christi Buker, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

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! 

Sincerely, 
Christi

Christi Buker, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association
717-766-7663

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Preparing for the 2017-18 PA budget

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, January 19, 2017

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!

Enthusiastically,

Christi Buker
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association
717-766-7663

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