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Top tags: budget  federal funding  Keystone Grant 

New Resource: Sample Letter from Your State Rep. to the Appropriations Chair

Posted By Glenn R. Miller, Thursday, May 21, 2015

Just a reminder that your State Senator and State Representative will be in their home districts until the first of June.  Now is a great time to reach out to them with our request for greater state support for library services. 


In our last message, Cathi Alloway and Jen Stocker (see their May 15 blog post here) suggested several steps that you could take to help us reach our goals this year.  One of those suggestions was to ask your State Representative to contact the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee to ask that libraries receive a fair share of the Education Department’s anticipated funding increases.  Since that message went out, we have received several requests for a sample letter/language that library advocates could share with a State Representative, language which, in turn, could be used in a letter to the Appropriations Chairman.


Ask and ye shall receive.  We’ve crafted a sample letter (attached below) that can be used for Republican and Democratic members of the State House.  It’s a Word document so it’s easy to save and edit, or copy and paste.  This template also includes a place for you to insert the name of your library and amounts of funding lost during this period of budget cuts.


The point here is that the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee—Chairman Bill Adolph and Democratic Chairman, Joe Markosek—need to hear that library funding is a priority for other members of their respective caucuses.  A letter sent by your State Representative to the chairman does just that.


The letter also contains some good talking points that you can use as well.  And if you have not yet sent an email to your legislators and the Governor, it is really simple to Take Action now.


Many thanks.


Glenn Miller

Download File (DOC)

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Legislators Back Home Until June. Perfect Time to Make the Case for Libraries.

Posted By Catherine Alloway, Friday, May 15, 2015

Attention all library staff, trustees, friends and supporters:

Do your need additional resources to run your library this year?  Who doesn’t, right?

NOW is the time to Take Action for our fair share of the overall increases in the education budget.  Legislators will play an important role in restoring Pennsylvania’s cornerstones of education—our libraries.  Legislators will be home from May 17th to the 31st, so this is the time for you to contact and visit them in your home communities.

Both the governor and the legislature pledge to invest more in education. Our goal is to secure for library users a reasonable and overdue portion of the overall education increases.  Public libraries support learning from cradle to grave.  We are essential partners in the educational system, providing support for early literacy, homework, computing, and self-directed learning.  

Investing in education means investing in libraries!  

We urge you to:

  • Schedule a visit with your legislator between May 17-31.  Report on those visits to Cathi Alloway at and they will be shared with PaLA.
  • Write a letter to your legislator or use PaLA’s sample email message at,  Letters that tell stories of how libraries have helped you/family/friends with learning experiences are the most compelling advocacy.
  • Also—especially if your State Representative is a Republican (not your State Senator)—please ask your State Representative to communicate their support for library funding to House Appropriations Chairman William Adolph.  Chairman Adolph is a key decision-maker who places great value on the priorities of his House Republican Caucus members. 
  • Get at least TWO OTHER PEOPLE to write, too!
  • PaLA has produced a new state budget advocacy brochure (download attachment below) which you can print out and use for a meeting or send along to your State Senator and State Representative.  

Thank you for picking up your pen, stylus or keyboard.  We can do this! 

Take Action today!

Cathi Alloway and Jennifer Stocker

Co-Chairs, PaLA Legislative Committee

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National Library Week is the best time to MOVE ON LIBRARY ADVOCACY. Do it now!

Posted By Catherine Alloway, Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The next state budget must give libraries a fair share of the proposed increases in education.  Libraries propel academic success, and are key community hubs that move "PA Forward."  This week, TAKE ACTION:


·         Send an email.  Thank your legislators for their work and support and ask that libraries receive their fair share of increased funding for education. Additional talking points may be found here.  Tell the story about patrons whose lives have been transformed by your library. 

·         Use social media and your website to get your supporters to speak up for the library

they love.  Link them to PaLA’s advocacy page,

·         Schedule legislator visits with trustees, Friends and library users.  Build your personal relationships with your elected officials (and share with Glenn Miller any feedback from your meetings.)

This year provides is a great opportunity to improve education and create a more literate Pennsylvania.  Libraries are key components of literacy and a strong education, as PA Forward makes clear. 

Take Action today to celebrate your community impact and insure that libraries receive a fair share of proposed increases in education funding. 


Jennifer Stocker & Cathi Alloway
Co-Chairs, PaLA Legislative Committee


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Hug Your Elected Official Today!

Posted By Glenn R. Miller, Thursday, March 26, 2015

Have you hugged your state elected officials today?  OK, not literally, but PaLA really needs your email hugging and tugging of your state senator, your state representative and Governor Wolf.  Your strong voice will help us to be heard, and we need to be heard today and frequently in the weeks to come.   It is so easy to do.  Just click here.


The Senate Appropriations Committee will review the Governor’s budget plan for the Education Department on Monday morning, March 30, and PDE Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera will testify.  Your emails today could be particularly important if your state senator serves on the Appropriations Committee.


Here are the Republican members of Senate Appropriations:

Patrick Browne, chair

Kim Ward, vice chair

Jake Corman, ex-officio

Joseph Scarnati, ex-officio

David Argall

Lisa Baker

John Eichelberger

Stewart Greenleaf

Bob Mensch

John Rafferty

Mario Scavello

Lloyd Smucker

Pat Vance

Elder Vogel

Randy Vulakovich

Scott Wagner


Here are the Democratic members of Senate Appropriations:

Vincent Hughes, minority chair

John Blake, minority vice chair

Jay Costa, ex-officio

Daylin Leach

Judith Schwank

Matt Smith

Christine Tartaglione

Rob Teplitz

Sean Wiley

John Wozniak


Follow this link to send your senator, your representative, and the Governor a message about the value of libraries and the need for greater state funding.


Your voice is critical.  Please act today and spread the word.  We need every voice.





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Better Education Means Investing in Better Libraries; Your Help Needed on State Budget

Posted By Glenn Miller, Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Great Recession has ended.  New leadership has come to Harrisburg and improving education is a top priority this year.  Libraries are an essential part of a strong Pennsylvania education and are key assets to building literacy levels and moving PA Forward.

The Pennsylvania Library Association’s literacy initiative, PA Forward (, brings to life how our residents rely on libraries for self-improvement in five essential areas:  Basic, Information, Civic and Social, Health, and Financial Literacies.

Just consider these few examples:

·         Basic:  Libraries build literacy and learning skills from the earliest years of life, sustaining year-round learning during the K-12 years and making lifelong learning possible for anyone.

·         Information:  They help us gain a command of new online resources and technologies and give us the ability to fully participate as citizens, workers, and consumers in a digital society.

·         Civic & Social:  They support our ability to engage in and contribute to community life.

·         Health:  They guide us to lead healthier lives and make more informed health care decisions.

·         Financial:  They prepare us to make smarter financial decisions at home and at work and teach our youngest citizens (even as young as preschoolers) to understand financial concepts and begin to think about spending, saving, and contributing.


To prepare citizens to meet the demands of life, libraries offer print and online resources, public programs, community outreach services, and staff members who are information experts.  No organizations in our state are better positioned than libraries to help move PA Forward. 

 But for libraries, it has become increasingly difficult to provide these essential literacy services after nine years of stagnant and declining budgets.  How can libraries continue to provide literacy and other critical services without strong support of the state?

The Pennsylvania Library Association has approved a plan that will provide libraries with the resources they need to meet the growing demands of the public.  We’ll need your support with the Governor and your legislators for the plan below, and we urge you support libraries by sending an email now.

Our long-term goals call for the following improvements from the state:

  • Beginning with the Public Library Subsidy, more equitable state support for library services is needed.  Since Pennsylvania law requires that local libraries provide at least $5 per capita to enter the state aid program, PaLA believes that it is appropriate and fair to ask state government to provide at least this same level—$5 per capita—in direct support to local libraries.  In order to achieve this “5 for 5” goal, PaLA estimates that an additional state investment of $36.7 million will be needed.  This amount could be phased in over a 3-to-5 year period.  (For example, $9 million could be added to the base each year over four years, just to cite one possible scenario.)
  • As for the additional three library-related state budget line item appropriations—Library Access, the State Library, and Libraries for the Visually Impaired and Disabled—PaLA seeks to restore all three categories to pre-Great Recession (2007-08) levels.  In so doing, power could be restored to POWER Library and greater sharing of resources would be encouraged through some version of a lending reimbursement program and additional funding for interlibrary delivery.  The State Library’s unique collections could be made more available to the public, and its statewide leadership role restored.  And library services for thousands with physical challenges—including a growing number of wounded veterans—could be strengthened.

Over the next several state budgets, in order to truly move PA Forward, the Pennsylvania Library Association believes the following long-term funding goals need to be met:

 State Support
           for Library Services
       Proposal  FUTURE
 Budget Year
 2007-08  2014-15  2015-16  ???
 Governor  Rendell  Corbett  Wolf  Wolf ?
 Public Library Subsidy
 $75,750,000  $53,507,000  $53,507,000  $90,253,500
 Library Access
 $7,386,000 $3,071,000 $2,821,000  $7,386,000
 State Library
 $4,784,000  $1,957,000  $1,965,000  $4,784,000
 Library Services for   Visually
    Impaired & Disabled
 $2,965,000  $2,567,000  $2,567,000  $2,965,000
 All Library Services
 Appropriations Total
 $90,885,000  $61,102,000  $60,860,000  $105,388,500

While our long-term funding goals are ambitious, PaLA’s goals for the forthcoming 2015-16 state budget are straightforward:

  • Spell out the level of support that we believe is needed—at a minimum—to operate our libraries effectively in the long run, and lay that groundwork this year for improvements in subsequent years; and,
  • Seek increased funding this year—to the highest levels possible—for all four appropriations (with the Public Library Subsidy as the top priority) as “good faith down payment” toward PaLA’s long-term goals designed to strengthen library services across the board, and expand our ongoing literacy commitment that will move PA Forward.

It only takes a few minutes to send a message to Governor Wolf and your state legislators. Take Action Now. You can send the message as is, or edit it to fit your local circumstances.

Thank you for making your voice heard this year as we build a strong foundation for the future.

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