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Advocate For Your Library

Cumberland County Library System - State Funding Request - May 13, 2015:

The Cumberland County Library System asks its supporters to consider contacting their state legislators and Governor Tom Wolf to request additional support for Pennsylvania's libraries.  


You can learn more about our funding situation below, and then use a ready-made email at: to send your message.

Cumberland County’s Funding Situation:

Since 2008, the Pennsylvania has reduced its overall support for library services by 33%.  


Cumberland County has experienced even greater reductions.  Since the Great Recession, the Cumberland County Library System has lost 41% or $ 720,833 in annual state support.  (About 40% or $285,000 of that loss was Statewide Reimbursement Card funding). Since 2008, Cumberland County has cumulatively lost ($ 4,376,587).


Even after seeing the county library tax grow modestly by $341,561 and using $1,404,470 in strategic reserve funds for operating expenses, this means that over the last 7 years, Cumberland County Library System has absorbed ($ 2,630,556) in state funding cuts.   


This represents 41% of the library system's annual budget.


This has caused funding instability, service reductions and lack of progress in establishing strategic partnerships and making much-needed technology investments.

State Funding Request

The Cumberland County Library System proposes a long-term plan that provides libraries with the resources they need to meet the growing demands of the public:

  • Increase the Public Library Subsidy: Provide more equitable state support for library services.  Since Pennsylvania law requires libraries to provide at least $5 per capita to enter the state aid program, we believe that state government should match this.  To achieve this “5 for 5” goal, an additional state investment of about $36.7 million is needed over the next 3 to 5 years.
  • Library Access; Libraries for the Visually Impaired and Disabled; State Library: We propose restoration of these line items to pre-Great Recession (2007-08) levels.  This requires about $7 million to restore all three categories.  In so doing, the Statewide Library Card lending program could be reinstated, the State Library’s unique collections would be supported and accessible, and library services for thousands with physical challenges—including a growing number of wounded veterans—could be strengthened.

Why Increased Support is Needed

Cumberland County’s residents rely on libraries for self-improvement in five essential areas: 

  1. Basic Literacy:  Libraries build literacy and learning skills from the earliest years of life, sustaining year-round learning during the K-12 years and making lifelong learning possible for anyone.
  2. Information Literacy:  They help us gain a command of new online resources and technologies and give us the ability to fully participate as citizens, workers, and consumers in a digital society.
  3. Civic & Social Literacy:  They support our ability to engage in and contribute to community life.
  4. Health Literacy:  They guide us to lead healthier lives and make more informed health care decisions.
  5. Financial Literacy:  They prepare us to make smarter financial decisions at home and at work and teach our youngest citizens (even as young as preschoolers) to understand financial concepts and begin to think about spending, saving, and contributing.

To prepare citizens to meet the demands of life, libraries offer print and online resources, public programs, community outreach services, and staff members who are information experts.  No organization in our state is better positioned than libraries to help move PA Forward. 

In addition, we are also concerned about the ongoing financial impact of:

  • Inflation — Since 2008 it has risen 14%, but our overall revenue has declined 8%;
  • Employee and Volunteer Clearances;
  • The possibility of minimum wage increases.


Page Updated: 

May 13, 2015

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