September 30, 2014

Pennsylvania: Libraries Feeling Pressures of Continued Funding Cuts

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From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Pennsylvania’s public libraries endured the pain of the funding ax in recent years, cutting back on staff, services, new book purchases and hours of operation. In Washington County, the situation is about to become more dire — one community’s library might have to close altogether.

Citizens and Chartiers-Houston libraries, two Washington County libraries that rely on school districts for a portion of their funding, learned in recent weeks that the districts — Trinity Area and Chartiers-Houston — will eliminate their appropriations to the libraries due to budget constraints. The news comes in a year when the state public library subsidy, a portion of the education budget, has fallen to $53.5 million from $75.1 million in 2008-09.

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The cuts are not unique to the rural counties of the southwest. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have lost almost 50 percent of their state library funds in recent years. A program run by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Free Library of Philadelphia that serves blind and handicapped residents statewide has not seen a funding increase in over 12 years, according to Mary Frances Cooper, director and president of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.