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Top tags: budget  federal funding  Keystone Grant 

Prepare now for PA Library Legislative Day - October 17!

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, October 4, 2018

We – the Legislative Committee, Greenlee Partners, and staff – are advocating for you, and your library.  It is very active right now, and you may not be aware of all that is happening.  So please allow me to share or recap for you, and ask that you prepare now! 


PA Library Legislative Day is

WEDNESDAY, October 17, 2018

7:30 am – 8:45 am
LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST sponsored by Greenlee Partners, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and Free Library of Philadelphia.  Our speakers are Senator Guy Reschenthaler and Representative Stan Saylor.  This is a ticketed event as part of our annual conference.

10:30 am
PRESS CONFERENCE at the Capitol East Wing Rotunda
This will celebrate the Legislature’s resolution for “Libraries move PA Forward Day!”  Please wear your advocacy t-shirts if you ordered one.  This event is free and open to the public.  Please plan to attend and invite others including legislators and their staff to join us!

11:00 am – 12:00 pm
DISPLAYS at the Capitol East Wing Rotunda
PA Forward Star Libraries will showcase programs, community connections, STEM, and technology that libraries offer to uplift their communities.


ALL DAY – on your own schedule
VISITS to your Representatives’ & Senators’ Harrisburg offices

  1. A preparation & advocacy tip sheet is below.  Please read this now!   
  2. HANDOUTS – with support from the Legislative Committee, the attached handout (below) shows “The GOOD: what libraries do beyond books; the BAD: library funding has been stagnant; and the POSSIBLE!”  We are giving you this electronic version now in both PDF and Word forms.  You are welcome to edit the Word version and insert some specifics about YOUR library.  Please print your own copies if you customize the handout.  Otherwise, copies will be available in the Rotunda for you to take to give to your legislators.    

We hope that you plan to be part of the ACTION on October 17!

Questions?  Call Christi Buker at 717-766-7663 or

 Attached Files:

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Governor's comment on library funding

Posted By Christi Buker, Friday, September 28, 2018

Governor Wolf responded publicly to a question about library funding this week.  Here is the question, response, and link to the PCN video (start at 12 minutes, 45 seconds). 

Question asked to Governor Wolf on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at PA Press Club:
“Libraries have not had a funding increase since the Rendell administration.  Since your interest in education funding is so high, why have libraries been left behind?”

“We have limited resources, I’m trying to do the best I can to make the lives of Pennsylvanians better. Libraries actually have gotten funded as part of the historic increases to education funding that I have been able to get passed into legislation.”   (Start the video at 12 minutes 45 seconds.)


The response was disappointing.  So, this presents an opportunity for us to let the Governor know two very important things.

1.       Libraries make the lives of ALL Pennsylvanians better – EVERY day of the week!

2.       Funding – Libraries have not shared in the Governor’s increases to education funding.  With more than 30% of all library funding being cut after 2008, libraries still have not recovered!  Lack of budget cuts doesn’t equal stable funding, nor cover ever-increasing expenses and inflation.    Staffing, hours, routine operations have all been negatively impacted by the lack of funding.  We want the Governor to commit to increasing funding for libraries. 

YOU need to share your comments with the Governor.  Please tell YOUR library story to the Governor – how you make lives better, how the lack of funding has impacted your library, and ask the Governor to improve library operational funding!


If you would, please let me know once you have submitted, and if possible, share any comments/stories that you submit.


Christi Buker | Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association | 220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10 | Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717.766.7663 - office |

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Questions asked!

Posted By Christi Buker, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

In our continued efforts to advocate for better funding for libraries, we have reached out to ALL current Pennsylvania Representatives and Senators.  With assistance from Greenlee Partners, an individual email went out two weeks ago as follows:

On behalf of the more than 1300 members of the Pennsylvania Library Association, representing public, school, special, and academic libraries and their staff, I’m asking if you would kindly respond to the following questions.

1.       Pew Research Center studies have shown that public libraries are of high importance to the public – including millennials. Can you comment on the priority you believe should be shown to public libraries in the Department of Education budget?

2.       After experiencing a 36.5% cut in state funding in 2003, public library funding has been largely stagnant. Would you place an emphasis on the need for an increased subsidy?

3.       Please tell us about your philosophy for government support for public libraries as centers for early literacy, community and economic development and lifelong learning.

4.       Many Pennsylvanians, particularly those in economically challenged or rural areas, depend on the public library for internet access. Do you support rural broadband initiatives that would include libraries? What is your perspective on the impact of net neutrality?

5.       As with much of Pennsylvania, aging infrastructure has become a significant challenge for public libraries. Would you support earmarking a larger portion of Keystone funds specifically for public library capital projects?

6.       Would you be willing to add a statement specific to public libraries to your platform?

I’d also like to share with you that our 2018 Annual Conference will be in Harrisburg this year.  More information will be coming out shortly, but we hope that you and your staff will set aside a little time on Wednesday, October 17 between 10:30 am – noon, to join us in the East Wing Rotunda.  We will be having a press conference to celebrate how libraries help all of PA move forward, and displays that demonstrate the array of programs, resources, and professional staff in our libraries. Thanks for your consideration. 

        PS – September is Library Card Sign-Up month.  Do you have a local library card?

We received several automated responses requesting webform submissions or suggesting that the questions be directed to their campaign emails.  We have received a small number of direct responses and the Legislative Committee members are reviewing these.  The GOAL of the email is to help find our library champions in PA! 

You are welcome to reach out to your individual legislators to follow up, and if you get any responses, we’d love to hear from you. 


Christi Buker | Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association | 220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10 | Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717.766.7663 – office |

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State budget passed!

Posted By Christi Buker, Monday, June 25, 2018

The state budget for 2018-2019 passed the House and Senate on Friday and is expected to be signed by Governor Wolf.  It is level funding for three of the specific library lines and a small increase (4.4%) in the State Library which was cut last year by 6.9%. 


HB 2121 – passed both House & Senate

Change from 2017-18 budget

Public Library Subsidy



No change

Library services for visually impaired & disabled


No change

Library access

Power Library, IDS (interlibrary loan delivery service), statewide catalog



No change


Office of Commonwealth Libraries



This is an increase of $83,000 (4.4%) after last year’s cut of $139,000 (6.9%)



The good news – the budget is done prior to the June 30 deadline and operations can proceed without fear of delays and stalemates.  Existing revenue sources will support this budget without any tax increases.  With the upcoming election for the PA House of Representatives and the Governor, it was clear that the legislature was not interested in a drawn-out budget negotiation process, and we are pleased to see this positive accomplishment!

While recent years of proposed cuts have made us grateful to have avoided the chopping block, the need for stable, and better funding for libraries remains at the forefront of our advocacy priorities. With the assistance of our lobbying firm, Greenlee Partners, and the volunteers on the legislative committee, we are working on plans for next year’s budget to make improvements.  That means that for the rest of 2018 we are asking you to help demonstrate how libraries uplift and support their communities.  Highlight the work you are already doing for early learning, workforce development, health literacy including mental health, STEM programs, technology access, and community support to name a few.   Be sure to include the other side - you can’t continue this work or meet the growing needs without proper funding. 

A special advance notice for you about this year’s annual conference in Harrisburg, October 14-17.  There will be a significant advocacy and legislative push.  Conference registration will open July 21 and the various trainings, press conference, and Capitol events will be detailed in the materials.   Please plan to participate and help us set the stage for why libraries deserve greater investment!  Pennsylvania LIBRARIES move PA Forward!

Your membership – both individual and organizational – helps support the advocacy work that we do on behalf of all libraries and library staff in Pennsylvania.  If you are a member, thank you, and if you aren’t please consider joining forces with us –

Tags:  budget 

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Keystone Fund is 25! Please thank legislators

Posted By Christi Buker, Wednesday, April 18, 2018

2018 is the 25th year of the Keystone Fund.  Grants from the Keystone Fund are the only state funds designated toward planning, acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of libraries.  The grants are made to municipalities and must be matched locally. 

Last year, the PA Legislature threatened to pull money from various funds to cover revenue shortfalls in the budget.  Thankfully, the Keystone Fund was not impacted this time.  Library use of the Keystone Fund is less than 4% of the total fund, but as you know, it is an essential part of libraries being able to complete critical improvements – roof replacement, wheelchair lifts, elevators, and HVAC systems to name a few.

Please take a few minutes to look at the attached list of projects that have been funded with Keystone support over the last 25 years.  If your library received support, we ask that you send a letter to your state senators and representatives to acknowledge the importance of Keystone Funds.  Timing is important – with the primary elections happening May 15, the state budget under consideration - your letter can make a difference!

A new round of Keystone grant applications has just opened -   Let’s make sure our legislators know how much we need, value and utilize the Keystone Fund!

With appreciation,


PS – If it’s not too much to ask, I’d appreciate being notified if you do send a letter or receiving a copy of the letter and any response you might receive from the legislators.


Christi Buker | Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association | 220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10 | Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717.766.7663 – office

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Tags:  Keystone Grant 

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