PCBL is an organization of advocates that speak for libraries throughout Pennsylvania. Membership is open to anyone who wants to see strong, well funded libraries with the best possible library service for all of Pennsylvania's citizens. This roster includes librarians, trustees of libraries, government officials and friends of libraries, as well as the lay citizen user of libraries.
Members are kept up to date on legislative information and actions as they pertain to Pennsylvania libraries; have opportunities to attend library advocacy and library fundraising workshops; and receive information about events, programs, and issues of interest to library advocates.
Persuade public officials that libraries are essential community services
Collaborate with other library associations, agencies, and community groups
Be a voice for improved library funding and appropriate legislation
Lead efforts to encourage, train, and support library Friends
A library outranks any one thing a community can do to benefit its people.
~ Andrew Carnegie
The 2023 affiliate member tax packet is now available. A print copy of the packet will be mailed to each affiliate group. Members can also access the paperwork on the website.
State budget still isn’t done, YOUR help is requested:
We sent a message to members on October 26, asking you to reach out to your state representative and state senators. Thank you to those of you who made calls and sent emails.
Unfortunately, despite a lot of back and forth and unproductive finger-pointing during the November session dates, the school code still didn't get done. We need both bodies of the General Assembly to finish the distribution language found in the school code in order for libraries to receive their state aid funds. The amount of funding in the public library subsidy was agreed to in July, but due to other political matters and not libraries, the overall school code has not been finished.
Both the House and Senate will be in session on December 11, 12, 13 - just 3 more days this year to get this done! Please call, email, visit your state representatives and senators – and ask them to get the school code done so public libraries can receive their critical funds from the state budget.
Timing is critical to make this happen in the next 2 weeks, and multiple calls from library staff, trustees, and patrons will help. So please share this message with others and take action as soon as possible.
Some of the legislators have responded to recent actions by suggesting that we talk to the other body of the General Assembly, but it takes both bodies to pass the same bill and language for it to go to the Governor’s desk. Distribution language for the public library subsidy is in both the House version and the Senate versions. So, either one is acceptable, but we need it to get done.
The impact is already being felt – district libraries were supposed to be paid in August. Most library entities don’t have a deep reserve. Collection and database purchases have been on hold, some are taking loans, some will be cancelling databases soon, and others are preparing plans if they need to furlough staff and reduce hours. This is not what we want.
Here are a few points you can use in your emails or calls to legislators:
Thank your legislators for passing a General Appropriations bill earlier this year that maintains funding for public libraries. Please explain that dollars cannot flow until authorizing language, in the form of a code bill, reaches the Governor’s desk. (NOTE: Thanking the legislators is important. Please don’t skip this part. If you have questions about why, please call or email me.)
Tell your local scenario! Share a positive impact statement of how your library services helped a specific child, family, senior, or patron. BUT be sure to include how the lack of state aid is already impacting, or would impact services, or hours open.
Public libraries run very lean – and don’t have much in the way of reserves to hold them over during this stalemate. Libraries can’t afford to borrow money for operations.
State aid to public libraries is critical. It is the most stable source of funding compared to donations and fundraisers.
Distributions for public library districts did not happen in August. District funds often support large annual subscriptions to databases and eResources.
Some libraries have already put all purchases on hold. If money from state aid isn’t moving in December, some libraries may have to start furlough plans.
Please pass the needed distribution language for the public library subsidy found in the school code asap!The state legislators need to HEAR from libraries that the budget needs to be finished.
To look up your PA legislators’ contact info: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address
Phone calls or personal meetings are most effective, but sending an email helps too!
Let us know if you get a response or specific comments from your legislators.
Thank you for engaging in this important advocacy task!
Christi Buker, CAE, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Library Association
220 Cumberland Parkway, Suite 10 | Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
www.palibraries.org | Ph: 717.766.7663 or In PA 1.800.622.3308
Saturday, March 23, 2024
Sponsored by PCBL and the Pennsylvania Library Association
Board members serve for three years and are actively involved in organizational governance.
Board members attend several board meetings in person at least 4 times a year at the
Pennsylvania Library Association headquarters in Mechanicsburg, PA.
The board needs various skills and library experience from library staff and friends group
members. At least one-third of board members are friends group affiliate members.
Those interested can find fill out the Board Member Application
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-870-3858.
A letter from the PCBL treasurer, membership information, as well as a sample Memorandum of Understanding for your Friends group.
Upcoming PCBL, Friends Groups, & Library Events
Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries
PO Box 12822
Pittsburgh, PA 15241