Information Update - Spring 1999
Funding Increases for PA Public Libraries
- Public libraries in Pennsylvania will receive a huge boost in their annual operating budgets if Governor Tom Ridge's proposal to increase state funding by 106% over current funding levels passes through the legislature. In an announcement on January 31, 1999, Ridge recognized the dire state of libraries in the Commonwealth, which currently ranks second from the bottom of all fifty states in local library support (only West Virginia ranks below us). The Pennsylvania Library Association, under the leadership of 1998 President. Sally Felix, Administrator of the Lackawanna County Library System, lobbied heavily for the change following a Line 1997 Philadelphia Inquirer series entitled "Libraries in Distress." The article pointed out how poorly staffed, stocked, and maintained a large number of public libraries were in the state. The Association asked the Governor to increase funding by $18 million for the next three years, and his proposal comes very close to the mark, asking for $17 million the first year and $5 million the next. Strong public libraries will help to insure an information literate population in the next century as well as act as centers for life-long learning.