2010-11-18 / Letters

To Maintain Services, Library Asks For Community’s Help!

Editorial

The Fulton County Library has been a valuable community contributor and supporter for 36 years. During that time, it has seen and overcome its fair share of financial struggles and difficulties. Through the generous contributions from people and businesses in the community, as well as the support of local and state government, the library has been able to provide basic library services such as availability to books and periodicals. More importantly, it has been able to expand those services into such areas as specialized children’s reading programs, specialized teen educational programs, sponsored literary discussion groups, a training site for programs sponsored by the local Employment and Training office, Experience Works (a program for older workers), and a place where home-schooling materials are not only readily available, but a quiet setting in which to conduct classes is as well.

Unfortunately, the economic downtown over the past three years has had a significant effect on the library’s funding stream. Over the past two years, state funding for Fulton County Library services has been cut by 29 percent, a reduction of over $20,000 annually. This is now at a level lower than it was five years ago in 2005. Additionally, due to its own budget issues, local county funding had to be cut by 50 percent, to $7,500. These cuts have occurred at a time the library has been experiencing significant increases in use of its services. Circulation is up by more than 25 percent, and the library is presently servicing approximately 3,500 patrons a month, which represents almost 40 percent of the entire cardholder base. Expenses for books and other library materials to meet this demand run approximately $30,000 yearly. That leaves little to cover salaries, utilities, insurance and other expenses.

It has been suggested that the library begin charging fees to the public to help defray the funding losses. State law prohibits public libraries from charging annual fees for services. Fees for service also do not fit the philosophical ideals of the library in Fulton County, which emphasize the library’s community benefit and service to individuals. That is why over the next several months, the library is going to be conducting several fundraising events.

Many of you have, in the past, provided financial support to the library by patronizing its various fundraising efforts. For that we are grateful. You will soon be seeing various events or efforts publicized, and we are again asking for that support as we search for funding for specialized programs and other needs. There is also no need to wait for the publicizing of the events, contributions can be made to the library at any time, and, because the library is a 503(c) charitable entity, your contributions are tax deductible. Just mail contributions to the Fulton County Library, North First Street, Mc- Connellsburg, PA 17233, or visit our Facebook page and click on the link.

The Board of Directors, Friends of the Library and library staff wish to thank you all for your patronage, continued support, and lifelong use of the library.

Fulton County Library Board of Directors

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