Summer is a super-busy season in public libraries across Pennsylvania. Tens of thousands of kids flock to libraries attracted by this year’s Summer Reading Club theme, “Every Hero Has a Story.”
Governor Wolf and every state legislator need to know about the heroic impacts that Summer Reading Clubs have on reading skills in the following school year. The Governor and every legislators could become heroes for these summer readers, but only if we send a message and ask them for support.
Recently, one local librarian quizzed students about a favorite superhero: “What was Superman afraid of?” An excited fourth grader yelled back, “Lois Lane!”
Actually, Superman is afraid of kryptonite — and — the consequences of declining literacy in our state.
Public libraries are a key educational resource for everyone, from preschoolers to retirees. They face greater demand than ever for their books, computers, meeting rooms, and education programs, but can’t meet public expectations due to nine years of stagnant and declining state funding.
Since the start of the Great Recession, cuts in state support for library services total more than $196 million forcing reductions to hours, book purchases, technology upgrades, and storytimes. Pennsylvania now ranks 40th in overall funding for libraries, far behind our surrounding competitor states.
Through it all, libraries continue to stand ready to help every Pennsylvanian tell their own hero story.
This year, Pennsylvania appears poised to boost support for education, and public libraries must be part of this educational investment. We simply ask for a fair, proportionate share of education dollars including:
- Public Library Subsidy funding of $62,693,625
- Library Access funding of $4,149,750
- Library Services for Visually Impaired & Disabled funding of $2,667,000
- State Library funding of $2,663,750
Our role in serving Pennsylvania is big and our request is relatively modest within the scope of the Education budget overall.
Be a hero today and Take Action with your State Senator, your State Representative, and with Governor Wolf asking for their support to restore library funding and services.
We may be entering a crucial stage of the budget battle so your emails now are more important than ever. Even if you wrote before, send another message. Many thanks.