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Top tags: budget  federal funding  Keystone Grant 

Nat'l Legislative Day update

Posted By Christi Buker, Monday, April 15, 2019

From the Legislative Committee . . .

Each year the Pennsylvania Library Association leads a delegation of librarians to Washington DC in May for National Library Legislative Day.  This advocacy work is crucial for securing funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) program which funds important activities in Pennsylvania such as IDS, POWERLibrary and grants, which fund important statewide initiatives and to provide venture funding for libraries to innovate new services and add new technology.

This year the American Library Association Committee on Legislation decided not to have National Library Legislative Day since the annual conference would be in Washington DC from June 20 to June 25.   The committee hoped to create an activity to have in conjunction with the conference, very similar to what the Pennsylvania Library Association did last year while in Harrisburg.   However, after much thought, the committee decided not to have a 2019 Legislative event and will pick back up with a National Library Legislative Day in May 2020.  

If you are going to Washington for the ALA conference and would like to schedule a visit with your congressional offices on either Monday, June 24, or Tuesday, June 25, in the very late afternoon, we will help to coordinate that visit.   To help set up that visit, please reply to one of us, and we will work to coordinate the delegation, schedule the meeting, and get information to you to present to your legislator. 

Rob Lesher
Lesher Library and Education Consulting

Karla Trout
Library System of Lancaster County

Jen Knisely
Altoona Public Library


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Asking for more $ in 2019-2020 state budget

Posted By Christi Buker, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

State-level advocacy request:

After the Governor’s proposed 2019-2020 state budget presentation, there is a series of Appropriation Committee hearings in both the House and the Senate.  Legislators on the committee will be asking department representatives for clarification, background, justifications, and status updates on programs.  The PA Department of Education will appear before the House on March 4; and the Senate hearing will be on March 5. 

It would be helpful if you could engage with your PA Representatives and Senators by sharing our 2019 ASK document with them. 2019 state budget ask  

This is an intentionally brief and bulleted document that is meant to help start the conversation.  We hope that you will provide some context with your legislators by sharing a little about YOUR library.  You should note impact stories and challenges that you are facing. Advocacy with your elected officials should not be a once a year outreach, but an ongoing engagement with both the elected official and their staff. 

The current budget is $54.47 million.  We are asking for $11.28 million more in 2019 and another $9.57 million in 2020.  Why these amounts?  The total over the two years would restore the public library subsidy to the $75 million level where we were in 2008-2009.  There have been too many articles in the news this past year about libraries considering cutting hours, closing, cutting collections and staff because their budgets are stretched so thin. Investing in libraries is investing in education, workforce development, literacy, life-long learning, and our communities!

Here are a few additional items you may want to reference:

1.       The PennLive Editorial Board posted an article that did an effective job about conveying the history of major cuts prior to the many years of level funding.

2.       The PA Forward video is a 3-minute piece that effectively conveys the history of the initiative, how libraries are focused on literacy, and how that helps communities. (PA Forward’s Story is the title)


On a COUNTY, or local level:

We encourage you to ask your county commissioners for a show of support for the amazing work that libraries are doing.  National Library Week is going to be celebrated April 7-13, 2019.  If you can, see if your commissioners will issue a proclamation to celebrate your library during this week.  A SAMPLE TEMPLATE PROCLAMATION can be found here.  It can be edited to include specifics about your library.  When you are successful, email us a picture to post to our Facebook page.  The goal is to get all 67 counties to recognize libraries!


If you receive a meaningful response (pro or con) from your legislators, we would appreciate hearing from you!  This will help us identify champions or those who need to visit a library!

Thanks for your engagement, and don’t forget to ask your Board of Trustees and Friends’ group to do outreach too!

Need another librarian perspective?  You are welcome to engage with the Legislative Committee and can find their contact info if you login to

Melissa Correll (CRD)
Karen DeAngelo (Southeast)
Deb Dorshimer (PCBL)
Mary Garm (GAC)
Tina Hertel (Lehigh Valley)
Kimberley Hrivnak (Co-Chair, Southwest)
Jennifer Knisely (Juniata Conemaugh)
Leslie LaBarte (Northwest)
Michele Legate (Co-Chair, Northeast)
Rob Lesher (ALA)
Allison Mackley (PSLA)
Barbara McGary (West Branch)
Sara Moran (FLP)
David Schappert (CRD)
Tracy Schwarz (Northeast)
Joseph Sherwood (Southeast)
Alicia Stine (PCBL)
Karla Trout (South Central)
Carrie Turner (Southeast)
Karlyn Voss (CLP)



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


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Governor's 2019-2020 Budget Proposal

Posted By Christi Buker, Tuesday, February 5, 2019

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 |

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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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Contact Us

220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
717-766-7663 Phone
717-766-5440 Fax
800-622-3308 (PA Only)