If there's one thing we'll need in the turbulent times ahead -- and there are many -- a robust library system has to be near the top of the list.
And yet, according to the Lancaster Intel/New Era, Governor Rendell and the Pennsylvania legislature have proposed cuts of 9.1% ($193,515) next year, after cuts around 20% ($500,000) this year. I've been told by a director of one of the region's library's that the long-term trend is for zero state funding. Do you think your local library can survive without state support?
Just one more perversity of this Second Great Depression that libraries, which are needed most in down times, appear to be one of the politically easiest line items to chop. It's always easy to cut services that are primarily used by the less well-off. Oh well.
My recommendation? Use the library. The more it's used, the more we show we need it, and the harder it will be to cut if off entirely. Write a letter to the editor. Call your local municipality, whether it's the City of Lancaster, or your local Borough or Township office: tell them you support the library, and expect them to pick up the state's slack; and after you've called, take the time to go to a Council/Supervisors/Commissioners meeting and tell them what you think, too. Make it hard for them to cut their support of the local library. Tell them it's shameful to have a library, like Elizabethtown's, be forced to shut for a week just to save the budget; or, like Lancaster City's, to be constantly shortening hours and cutting staff.
Support your library! You're going to need it.