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Library competes for more county funding

McGoey, Hauser and Edsall Consulting Engineers’ architectural renderings for the new addition to the Pike County Courthouse were introduced at the Pike Commissioners September 4 meeting.
Contributed photo

By David Hulse
September 11, 2013

Looking for a change in the way budget money is divided, a spokesman for the Hawley Library came before the Pike County Commissioners last Wednesday asking for a bigger piece of the county’s library funding.

Tom Kennedy said many western Pike residents regularly patronize the Hawley Library, although it is located “a quarter mile over (the border) in the county known as Wayne.”

He said that the closure of the Greeley (Lackawaxen) branch of the Pike County Public Library has left residents in Lackawaxen, Palmyra (Pike) and Blooming Grove townships without library access.

Noting difficult economic times, “The idea that Pike County money should serve all (its residents) is fair. Two thousand dollars isn’t fair,” he said.

Anthony Waldron, who is director of the Hawley Library and the Wayne County Library Alliance, said the Newfoundland Library in Wayne County also serves numerous Pike residents from Greene Township. Sixty percent of its users are from Greene while 55% of Hawley users are Pike residents, he said.

Joined by representatives of its seven libraries, Molly Rodgers, executive director of the Wayne County Library Alliance, broke the bad news of a $47,000 annual deficit to the Wayne County Commissioners in early July. Rodgers said all the libraries are running deficits and cannot continue to do so.

The Pike commissioners traditionally have appropriated the bulk of library funding, $150,000 to $200,000 derived from state and county money, to the Pike County Public Library (PCPL), which is based in Milford; a smaller donation annually goes to Hawley.

Kennedy said $176,000 is given and Hawley “would be happy with 36% of that, $50,000 more or less.”

PCLP executive director Ellen Schaffner and trustee Elspeth Goodin listened but did not comment during the Hawley presentation. After the meeting Schaffner said “those who chose not to (use the Hawley Library) should not have to pay for the choices of those who did.”

She said all libraries are facing decreased funding. “We’re down $100,000 in state and local cuts.”

Goodin provided a handout quoting PA library law, referencing a statewide library card program which enables any state resident possessing any state-funded library’s card to use any other state-funded library.

Goodin wrote that diversion of Pike funds to other counties would also

reduce Pike’s Local Financial Effort (LFE), which would reduce state aid accordingly. “If LFE falls below a certain amount, the library could receive no state funding at all.”