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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Hawley Library asks funding from Pike

  • Hawley and Newfoundland public libraries are both in Wayne County but are on the border with Pike. As such, a large part of their patronage comes over the border. Strapped with cash shortages, officials from these libraries are asking Pike County to send some of their funding over the border as well. The Pike County Com...
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  • Hawley and Newfoundland public libraries are both in Wayne County but are on the border with Pike. As such, a large part of their patronage comes over the border. Strapped with cash shortages, officials from these libraries are asking Pike County to send some of their funding over the border as well.
    The Pike County Commissioners have been formally requested to take an equitable portion of their annual allotment to the Pike County Public Library System and share it with Hawley and Newfoundland libraries. For Hawley alone, that could mean as much as $40,000 to $50,000 a year.
    ••• Would affect Pike's state aid
    If the Commissioners were to divert funds to these Wayne County libraries, however, the Pike County Public Library would face a partial cut in their state funding, said Centa Quinn, Vice-President of the
    Pike County Public Library Board. Quinn's comments were issued after the meeting.
    Pike County Commissioners have not commented publicly. The Commissioners are still preparing their proposed 2014 budget. Chairman Richard Caridi has indicated the draft budget will be presented at the regular Wednesday, December 4th meeting. It would be adopted on December 31.
    Quinn further explained that if the County's local financial effort falls below a certain level, the Pike County Public Library would receive no state funding at all. State aid to libraries is partly dependent on the amount of funding allocated by the county.
    She stated, "the PCPL Board is developing long and short-term goals to enhance the ability of residents lying on the outskirts of Pike County to access library resources."
    ••• Townships back Hawley
    MaryAnne Teeter, Hawley Public Library board member and past president, presented letters of support from the boards of supervisors from Palmyra, Blooming Grove and Lackawaxen townships.
    The Commissioners have been contributing $200,000 a year to Pike County Public Library System, over the past few years. Teeter emphasized that sharing a portion with Hawley and Newfoundland would not require raising the allocation for libraries, only to distribute the funds so that all of Pike County is fairly served.
    Based on the 2010 Census, approximately 30% of Pike County residents live in the four townships of Greene, Palmyra, Blooming Grove and Lackawaxen. Nearly 23% of the County residents are from Palmyra, Blooming Grove and Lackawaxen, where they are served by Hawley Public Library.
    She noted that because of their position near the Pike County line, 46% of their active users during the past three years are Pike residents (1,749); 53% are Wayne residents (2,035). The total card holders for Hawley are: Pike, 4,057 and Wayne, 4055, basically equal.
    At Newfoundland. the percentage of Pike County residents is even greater than 50%, which many coming from Greene Township.
    Teeter explained further in an interview that budgets for local libraries are cut short by a drastic reduction of state funding over recent years. Inadequate support from Wayne County Commissioners was also cited in the letter given to township supervisors.
    Page 2 of 3 - ••• State used to help
    Bill Brennan, representing the Newfoundland Public Library, said that back in the early 1990's the Pike County Commissioners were allocating funds to the Newfoundland and Hawley libraries. The state then started a program, Pennsylvania Access, which provided assistance for libraries in their situation, which have a disproportionate number of patrons from across county lines. That program stopped in 2008, and the Pike County Commissioners have never resumed contributions to these two libraries.
    Teeter commented that Pike County Public Library primarily serves eastern Pike County. There are no branch libraries in the west or north (Pike has two branches, on East Harford St., Milford and on Log Tavern Road, Dingman Township). The Greeley library was closed. "The Pike County Library works hard, but you have to consider the geography," she said. She asked why would a resident of northern Pike County ride 20 to 30 miles to Milford when they can drive two or three miles to Hawley. Brennan noted that his trip from Newfoundland to Milford that morning was 40 miles.
    Despite this, 100% of the Pike County funding allocation goes to the Pike County Library System.
    Teeter said that the requested contribution from Pike County would curtail Hawley Public Library from taking "drastic action" to save expenses. Library officials at Hawley are discussing closure of the library one or two days a week. They may instead need to eliminate staff and/or programs. She said they have a wonderful base of volunteers but they need to be staffed in order to provide the services for the public.
    LETTER
    Letter from the Boards of Supervisors of Palmyra Township (Wayne), Lackawaxen Township and Blooming Grove Townships to the Pike County Board of Commissioners, presented November 20, 2013 to the Commissioners. Each Township Board approved the same letter and sent it on their own letterhead. (They didn't present a letter from Greene Twp.) A copy of the full letter appears below.
    Gentlemen:
    It is our understanding that for the past few months, you have been hearing requests from various Pike County residents about the need for the County to allocate some of the funds provided to the Pike County Library system to the western portion of our county, which is very ably served by the Hawley and Newfoundland Libraries. At this time, when you are formulating the budget for 2014, we would like to add our voices to those calls for proportionate allocations.
    Nearly all of our Township residents that use the public library go to the Hawley Public Library. Based upon the 2010 census, approximately 30% of Pike County residents live in the four Townships of Blooming Grove, Greene, Lackawaxen and Palmyra, with nearly 23% of the county residents being served by the Hawley Public Library (i.e. from Blooming Grove, Lackawaxen and Palmyra Townships). However, there are no libraries in the Pike County System directly serving this population and 100% of the funds allocated by you go to the Pike County System, which only serves the eastern end of the county. Hawley Public Library, which has been operating for over 50 years, does a great job serving our municipality has asked for our support because it has been experiencing a loss of state funding and inadequate support from Wayne County to maintain its current level of service. Even though the Hawley Public Library is located in Wayne County, the percentage of active users at Hawley during the past three years was 46% Pike residents (1749) and 53% Wayne residents (2035). As for total cardholders, the numbers for Hawley are: Pike - 4057 and Wayne- 4055, basically equal for both counties. It is our understanding that while the number of cardholders is less at the Newfoundland Library, the percentage of Pike County residents is even greater than 50%.
    Page 3 of 3 - On behalf of our Township citizens, we urge you to properly allocate library funding to serve our community by allocating a proportionate share of the annual contribution currently given to the Pike Library system. This would equate to $40,000 to $50,000 for Hawley, based on the $200,000 per year allocated over the past few years, and that would stave off Hawley having to take drastic action, including the closing of the library one or two days a week, or eliminating staff and/or programs. This does not require the county to raise the total allocation for libraries, only to distribute them so that all of Pike County is properly served.
    Please do not neglect any longer the funding of the Hawley Public Library that serves our Township.
    Sincerely,
    _____ Township
    Board of Supervisors

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