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Don't Allow More Cuts to Our Libraries

Editor:

Libraries are busier than ever during this recession and more access to libraries—not less—is needed.

Just consider:

Last year when circulation was up nine percent and library visitors up 11 percent, the state's public library subsidy was cut 21 percent.

Last year when in-library computer use was up 19 percent, the state's Library Access funding (for electronic resources and shared services) was slashed 73 percent.

Last year when hits on library websites jumped 48 percent, the state's funding for all library programs dropped 28 percent.

Why are we cutting libraries at precisely the time when libraries are most needed? And who's using libraries?

Parents with pre-school children.

People searching for work and applying online.

K-12 students.

Τhose who must file online for Social Security, veterans' benefits or unemployment compensation.

Seniors with health concerns.

Parents in the "Sandwich Generation" dealing with kids and aging parents.

Struggling families without an Internet connection at home.

Many, many more citizens who rely on high-quality, accessible library services across Pennsylvania.

Please, no more cuts to libraries. The four library funding categories were already cut this year by three percent, 21 percent, 51 percent and 73 percent. Restoring access to libraries is what is needed in the 2010-11 state budget, not more cuts.

I urge you to oppose more cuts to libraries and instead, support these goals to restore access to much-needed library services for your constituents:

1. A $3 million increase to restore Library Access, especially the POWER Library electronic resources heavily used last year 76 million—yes, million—times. (This vital statewide program serving public libraries and schools was cut 73 percent in the current year's budget.)

2.     A five percent increase in library appropriations that will restore five percent more access to meet growing public demand.

These funds will lead to much-needed restorations of library services. Thank you for opposing more cuts to libraries and for supporting funding to provide your constituents with greater access to libraries.

Sincerely,

Virginia Wood

Montrose

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