Letter to the editor: Libraries hit hard in state budget proposals

Pennsylvanians face the possibility of severe shortages in library
service as the legislature struggles to develop its 2009-2010 budget.  While the
Chester County Library System has received flat funding from the state for the
last several years, library use in Chester
County has increased
dramatically. 

Libraries are busier than
ever before, serving people who are out of work, families who are experiencing
tight budgets and retirees who are grappling with shrinking savings.  Budget cuts will reduce library services for
those very people who need libraries the most. 
Proposed budgets in Harrisburg
differ in degree but are consistent in failing to understand the vital
importance of libraries to our residents. 
Proposed reductions in the State's library subsidy range from 2.3 to
50 percent

The worst case scenario for the Chester County Library System's 18
member libraries is a loss of half a million dollars in state aid.  In spite of strong support for libraries from
County Commissioners Farrell, Aichele, and Cozzone, cuts of this magnitude will
force our libraries to drastically decrease spending for books and materials,
slash the number of programs for adults and children, limit computer access and
cause library doors to close.

In 2008, Chester
County residents visited
one of our 18 member libraries 1.7 million times – evidence that they
value and use their libraries.  We hope
anyone reading this letter will take the trouble to write to their legislator
or call their office telling them how they and their families value the library
system and support full funding. 

 Chester
County Library System
Board of Trustees

Earl Baker, President

Richard Hankin

Buck Jones

M. Elizabeth Burke

JoAnn Weinberger

Christopher M. Fiorentino

James B. Norton

Kathy Pearse

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