Governor Wolf made his budget proposal this morning. Unfortunately, it is frustrating and disappointing news – there are no changes in proposed funding for the public library subsidy, library services for the visually impaired and disabled, and library access services. The State Library did receive an increase of $258,000 which is expected for the relocation of the library due to the Forum Building renovations.
If you watched the Governor, or read his proposal narrative, he clearly wants to invest in education, and workforce development. HOWEVER, there appears to be no recognition that libraries are educational centers with a multitude of benefits who deliver pre-K, K-12, and lifelong learning resources, services, and helpful staff – essential to helping our communities.
It is out of the Governor’s hands, so we won’t spend time writing to him. Now we turn to the General Assembly – and for the record, the legislature has been the arena where we have made progress ($1 million increase in 2015-16 budget year was the latest). Our Legislative Committee will be meeting next week to determine strategy in conjunction with our professional lobbyists at Greenlee Partners.
Gather your resources – board members, friends’ groups, neighbors, partner organizations, and patrons – as we will need to have a very active lobbying campaign this year with stories, pictures, data, and the troubles we are facing daily due to a lack of sustainable funding. We will need everyone, working together, with the same message, in order to be successful and get the public library subsidy above the 2010 level. We need to show Pennsylvania the POWER of libraries to MOVE PA FORWARD!
Christi Buker | Executive Director
www.palibraries.org | www.paforward.org