Representatives from public libraries in Hawley and Newfoundland attended the Oct. 16 Pike County Commissioners meeting to tell the board of their displeasure about a lack of funding these libraries in southern Wayne – which also serve Pike County residents- have received.
In September of 2011, President of the Board of Trustees of the Newfoundland Area Public Library, Bill Brennan said representatives from the Wayne Library Alliance met with the commissioners to ask that they include the Newfoundland Library into the budget, because it once was. A month latter, he said the commissioners sent a check for $1,000, but since then, nothing else has been received.
When the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Office of the Commonwealth Libraries started Pennsylvania Access in 2001, to share state library resources from across the state via the internet, Brennan said the support from the county stopped. Brennan said the program was created to fund non-county residents. When the funding stopped in 2009, he said it was assumed that the funding would resume in Pike County, but it hasn't happened. Yearly, he said the library's budgets are approximately $54,000. And $15,000 of the money comes from fundraising and donations. Additionally, Brennan said the library director hasn't received a raise in the last few years.
As a result of the lack of funds, Brennan said less books have been bought, the cleaning services in the libraries have been discontinued and library hours have been cut. He asked the Commissioners why the other libraries don't receive tax or state money, but then he answered that it is because it appears as though the Pike County Public Library in Milford gets the money.
Commissioner Richard Caridi responded that Pennsylvania Access was a state funded program and so the Pike County Commissioners had no control over the change. Plus, they weren't expecting to subsidize their deficiencies. Brennan replied that before the program, the county funded the libraries and once it started, the funding stopped. Commissioner Karl Wagner said that he has learned from the state librarian that the program may start again. Although Wagner said the program may help the libraries, Brennan responded that still, in the last four years, the libraries have only received $1,000 from Pike County which is, "not right," when the library in Milford is receiving funding. Caridi pointed out that the Milford library is in the Pike County Library system. That, however, didn't please Brennan because he noted that in order to use the library, that means some people may have to drive 40 miles from other townships. Financially, Brennan said the library receives about $16,000 and about 14.5 from the state, with the rest coming from donations and fundraisers, with people volunteering, which he added is, "not fair."
Genevieve Reese from the Newfoundland Library said that when Pennsylvania Access was started, it was meant to cover out of county borrowers and so it is, understandable that the funding from Pike County stopped because the libraries received a little over $5,000, even with a high percentage of borrowers. She said the county libraries in the state are modeled so most funding should come from the county and some funding should come from the state, but that funding has been, "severely cut."
Page 2 of 2 - Representing the Hawley Public Library, past president of the board of directors, and still a participant, MaryAnne Teeter said the Hawley Library serves 8,000 patrons and 4,000 of that group are Pike County residents. The library, she said, serves more than half of the patrons, "with no money and no support." Referencing the various townships that use the library and three school districts, Teeter said that, "we are very hopeful that you will consider helping to support what we do for your citizens."
From Lackawaxen Township, Ed Eggenberger said the libraries' struggle to receive funding reminded him of the Boston Tea Party and "taxation without representation." He explained that out of the $200,000 budget, $70,000 of it comes from the public. Simply, he said, the people want fair taxation and their money back.
For more information about Pennsylvania Access visit http://www.accesspa.state.pa.us/.
••• Caridi in a puppet show
Yolanda Goldsack and Kelly Gaughan from the Pike County United Women, presented a puppet show, which starred Caridi and Robert Goldsack. The puppets explained how sexual predators target children who are the, "very fabric of our society, our most valuable asset." Caridi's puppet had the most to say, but he explained that children who are sexually abused experience a lifetime of: shame, guilt, low self-esteem, anger, violence, drug addiction, alcoholism, broken lives and broken families.
The predators, he said, are deceitful as they camouflage themselves as family, friends, neighbors and role-models in the community. There will be a symposium Saturday, Oct. 26 at Dingman Delaware Middle School at 1 p.m. at no cost. People will learn how to spot predators and what to do if one is suspected. Senator Lisa Baker, State Representative Rosemary Brown, Pike Sheriff Phil Bueki, Diane Quintilliani and Dave Beaver from Safe Haven of Pike County, Brian Goldsack and Tammy Gillette will speak.
••• Soldier benefit
Tim Flaherty, served four and a half hours in Afghanistan with the 82nd airborne and the 10th mountain division. After being pronounced dead four times, Flaherty is currently in Montrose VA Hospital. At one point, he was administered a field tracheotomy but his trachea was missed. As a result, his lung was punctured. Aside from suffering from a traumatic brain injury, Flaherty suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and there was a point two years ago where he was taking 34 individual medications a day. With many legal bills, his family is in need help and so there will be a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Milford American Legion at 3 pm. Cost is $15 and it is an all you can eat meal. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.