Libraries across the state have begun mobilizing in response to a budget proposal by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvavnia Senate to reduce library funding statewide by 50 percent, to $37 million. In York County, the cuts would reduce state support by almost two-thirds, from $2.4 million to $900,000. Libraries are a key community resource, especially for lower-income families who might otherwise not have free access to computers and the Internet. And libraries are busier than ever, as more people look for work and interact with government aid agencies. The York County Library System has a "Libraries are a Lifeline" page set up that allows Web visitors to send a form e-mail to their state legislators. Gov. Ed Rendell's proposed budget would reduce the state subsidy by $1.75 million. Here's an analysis of Senate Bill 850 and the governor's budget by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
What's the value of a strong, well-equipped local library system? How much of a priority should libraries be in the state budget?
- Dan Fink