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Top tags: budget  federal funding  Keystone Grant 

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

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Keystone Grant 

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Federal support for PA Libraries - Deadline TODAY

Posted By Christi Buker, Wednesday, March 14, 2018

We need to get signatures from House Members to preserve more annual federal funding for libraries.

The NEW deadline is Wednesday (TODAY) for House members to sign letters showing their support for library funding. I’ve attached copies of the two letters (at the bottom of this post) that are circulating in the House right now.

At the moment, we are missing signatures from most of the Pennsylvania delegation, which will bring our numbers down compared to last year. With the Administration again proposing to eliminate these library programs, it is important to maintain as much support as possible in Congress.

Who to Call

Please call these offices today, if you can, or you can ask library supporters in these districts to call (or both!). But time is of the essence. Here’s the breakdown by district. I’ve noted if they’re on Ed & Workforce; or Appropriations (which means they probably won’t sign); and if they’ve signed in previous years.


1 – Robert Brady – D (signed IAL last year)

2 – Dwight Evans – D (written confirmation that he’s signing both again this year – but still feel free to hit him if you have time/resources)

3 – Mike Kelly – R

4 – Scott Perry – R

5 – Glenn Thompson – R  (on Ed & Workforce)

6 – Ryan Costello – R

7 – Patrick Meehan – R

8 – Brian Fitzpatrick – R

9 – Bill Shuster – R

10 – Tom Marino – R

11 – Lou Barletta – R (on Ed & Workforce)

12 – Keith Rothfus – R

13 – Brendan Boyle – D

14 – Mike Doyle – D

15 – Charlie Dent – R (appropriator, won’t sign)

16 – Lloyd Smucker – R (on Ed & Workforce)

17 – Matt Cartwright – D (appropriator, won’t sign)

18 – Vacant


What to Say

  • Ask for the staffer who handles education. (Leave a message if you don’t reach them.)
  • Give your name and say you are calling on behalf of the your state’s library association (or the American Library Association). If you are a constituent, say so.
  • Ask for the Representative’s support to protect library programs that the Administration has proposed to eliminate.
  • Ask them to sign two Dear Appropriator letters.* (Attached.)
  • 1: The Library Services and Technology Act provides $8 million to Florida’s libraries for programs that support education and employment. Ask them to sign the letter by Representative Grijalva (gree-HALL-vuh).
  • 2: Innovative Approaches to Literacy supports school libraries and helps kids get ready to learn. Ask them to sign the letter by Representative Bernice Johnson.
  • Ask them to sign on by Wednesday (today!).
  • (If they ask for more information, give them my contact, which is below.)
  • Thank them for their support.

 Attached Files:

Tags:  federal funding 

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National Library Legislative Day & National Library Week

Posted By Christi Buker, Thursday, March 1, 2018
Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2018

National Library Legislative Day – May 7-8, 2018

You are invited to join the Pennsylvania delegation in Washington, DC for the National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).  The event is organized by the American Library Association (ALA) and will be held May 7-8, 2018.  The first day includes briefings and speakers on federal legislative topics, and the second day will be Hill visits to our US Representatives and Senators.  Rob Lesher and Karla Trout are the PA delegation organizers and make it easy for YOU to attend and be involved by setting up appointments for us.  Last year we had 23 people in our delegation, and we hope that you will register soon so we have another strong presence!  For more information, please go to

President Trump has again put forth the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in his proposed 2019 budget, but it is worth reminding ourselves that Congress will be the ones to determine the budget allocations.  Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to eliminate net neutrality protections which could the limit the speed and control some content that we want to access on the internet.  Our advocacy on May 8 will be critical to keeping IMLS in place and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding coming to Pennsylvania. 

There will be a lot of steps in the path to getting the federal budget completed.  Resources to help you keep track include ALA’s District Dispatch blog – which will also give you the link to the “Take Action for Libraries” page where you can send emails to your elected officials as well as track updates to federal legislation.

Advocacy includes outreach to elected officials, but don’t forget how important it is to always be proud of your library, and the great work that librarians and library workers do on behalf of your community.  EVERYONE needs to advocate for funding at all levels – federal, state, county, municipal, and yes, your neighbors!

Please join us in Washington, DC, and strength our voice by joining the membership – both individually and as an organization.  Let’s take a stand for libraries!


National Library Week – April 8 -14, 2018

The Pennsylvania Library Association encourages ALL libraries of all types and sizes to celebrate, promote, and advocate for greater awareness of how libraries are community pillars – particularly during National Library Week, April 8-14, 2018.  Volunteers serving on the PR & Marketing Committee have prepared a full media toolkit for you.  With a few easy steps you can use this celebration to also connect with your county commissioners, or your municipal officials, to get proclamations to show their support for your library.   Let’s help others show their support for the great things that libraries do in PA!


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)