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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Pike Library Director: Ask state to restore funds

  • Nothing was said about whether Pike County would share its library donation with Hawley and Newfoundland libraries in Wayne, when the Pike Commissioners presented their proposed 2014 budget, December 4th.
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  •    Nothing was said about whether Pike County would share its library donation with Hawley and Newfoundland libraries in Wayne, when the Pike Commissioners presented their proposed 2014 budget, December 4th.
        Ellen Schaffner, Executive Director of the Pike County Public Library, spoke to the Commissioners  about the concerns of the two Wayne County libraries on the border with Pike, advising that state legislators be urged to restore funding for a program that helped these libraries in the past.
        In 2013, the County of Pike allocated $100,000 to help support the Pike County Library System.
        Officials from the Hawley and Newfoundland libraries in Wayne County have approached the Pike Commissioners at recent meetings, asking that a portion be shared with their libraries, since nearly half their patronage is from Pike County residents. Hawley Library draws heavily from Lackawaxen and Palmyra (Pike) townships while Newfoundland Library reports that over half of their card holders live over the border in Greene Township.
       Libraries across Pennsylvania have struggled in the face of state budget cuts. A state program called Access Pennsylvania helped support public libraries such as those in Hawley and Newfoundland, who a large portion of their patrons are from another county.
          There are seven libraries in the Wayne County Library Alliance who receive aid from Wayne County, but that funding is based only on Wayne County usage. Hawley Library serves patrons in Hawley Borough, Paupack and Palmyra-Wayne townships, but their expenses are much larger than that because of their reach into Pike County, said Maura Rottmund, Hawley Library administrator, in an interview.
         Schaffner told the Commissioners that Pennsylvania's State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich, favors Pike and Wayne library systems working together on a partnership initiative that could prove to be a model for other libraries in the state. Aldrich has agreed to meet with Schaffner and with Molly Rodgers from the Wayne system in early 2014.
        Recognizing that state funding has been reduced, Aldrich advises that residents write to their state senators and representatives to ask that the special Access reimbursement be restored. This program paid a library system a small amount for each item that was circulated to an out-of-county resident.
       A basic problem here is geography. Pike County Library System has only two branches, in Milford and in Dingman Township, both on the eastern side of the county.
       Schaffner said that in early 2014, Pike County Public Library will "engage in an intense effort" to reach out to residents in western Pike County. Pike Library officials plan to meet with township supervisors of Lackawaxen, Blooming Grove, Palmyra and Greene to discuss how to expand library services.
       The goal to partner with Wayne on expanding library services in western Pike County was discussed between Library Board members and the Commissioners in a conference, December 3.
    Page 2 of 2 - ••• Circulation up 20%
        Schaffner shared how interest in the Pike County Library has blossomed since the new library in Milford was opened on October 26.
          Circulation has increased over 20 percent. They have experienced an increase of 430 new card holders.
        The Friends of the Public Library had been hosting two book sales a year, raising $4,000 in 2012 for the library. The new library facility has its own used book sale space right off the entrance. Since October 26, the "Friends Room" has already raised $1,302 in book sales. All of the money goes to support the library. Schaffner said that the Friends group needs to keep replenishing the supply of donated sale books.
        The Community Room has quickly become a gathering place for many organizations, Schaffner said. It was first used for the Black Bear Film Festival. Other groups making use of it or will be in the near future include the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, Milford Borough Council and the Youth Advocate Program.
        Schaffner said that they would like to think that Dorothy E. Warner would be delighted with the new library. Warner's initial gift allowed the Library Board to buy the land at 119 East Harford St., where the library was constructed. The library was named in memory of Ms. Warner. She died in 2005 at the age of 88.
        This Saturday, December 7, Pike County Public Library will host a holiday movie for children ages 5-10 while their parents shop. The movie will run from 2 to 4 p.m., just in time for families to attend the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the Community House grounds, the former library site.

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