As state senators consider reforming Pennsylvania’s Library Code, librarians say the biggest issue is unreliable funding.
Librarians and advocates say what they’d like to see is a library system managed by the counties.
Right now, most libraries get their funding from the state’s thousands of municipalities and not all are guaranteed a piece of tax revenues.
Dennis Leeper, with the Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries group, says most libraries find themselves competing with other city services for budgetary support–trying to make their case alongside police and fire departments, as well as transportation projects.
“So the libraries often get what’s left over. And in difficult economic times like these, there isn’t much left over,” Leeper said. “So the libraries are left hurting.”
A Senate education panel is considering reforms to the laws governing the state’s libraries.
The code hasn’t been overhauled in 50 years.