In response to my post on the Colbert video clip with Dominic Phillips and his family, the director of the Nazareth Library wanted to share some facts. Funding in Pennsylvania (and in many other states in this country) is very confusing for public libraries. Here are
THE FACTS AND JUST THE FACTS ABOUT LIBRARY FUNDING, MEMBERSHIP AND THE ACCESS PA PROGRAM
The Library Board and staff are well aware that some residents of municipalities who do not reside in our service area desire library service.
Those who serve on the Library Board and staff do so because of a strong belief that communities should provide library service to their constituents. Because the Library Board is committed to fair and equitable local funding of our Library, the Library issues membership cards only to residents in those municipalities that support our library services as part of responsible and responsive municipal government. Some of our surrounding communities do not feel that its citizens have expressed enough interest in having library services as part of their municipal services.
FUNDING AND MEMBERSHIP
Libraries in Pennsylvania are supported mainly through local funding municipalities. (75% of our finding is local funding.) The following municipalities support our Library as a part of responsible and responsive municipal government: Nazareth Borough, Bushkill, Lower Nazareth and Upper Nazareth Townships.
Our Library does not sell individual cards because it believes that the local support we receive should not be jeopardized by the sale of individual cards. Area libraries that we are aware of which do sell individual cards include: Easton Area Public Library and its Palmer Branch, Mary Meuser Library and Bangor Public Library.
Healthy local support is at the heart of our funding and any state subsidy we receive is directly tied to the amount we receive from our local funding municipalities.
Our Library receives no funding from the Nazareth Area School District. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries assigns public libraries to District Centers. Library District Centers do not correspond in make up to School Districts. Our Library is assigned to the Bethlehem Area District Library Center. Tatamy and Stockertown are assigned to the Easton Area Library District Center.
LIBRARY MEMBERSHIP AND FUNDING FACTS
Our Library receives no funding from the District Center.
The Bethlehem District Center does not sell individual cards.
Our Library receives no funding from the County.
ACCESS PA PROGRAM
Our Library participates in the Access PA statewide direct borrowing program. The program is a program of reciprocity. To be eligible to participate, an individual’s municipality must establish and/or maintain a local library. As a result ACCESSPA stickers may not be attached to cards purchased at area libraries. Purchased cards are valid only at the library issuing the card.
GETTING LIBRARY SERVICE
We have always acknowledged that residents of a town without library services are the catalysts to change that situation. Anyone wanting to use our services including: internet access, story hours, subscription database searching and programming are welcome to do so. However when they wish to check out an item from the collection then we must require that they have a valid library card. We have also advised the residents of surrounding communities that should they wish their town to provide library services to its citizens by supporting our Library, they would first have to do the following:
· Agree to contribute the same per capita amount as our current funding municipalities.
· Contact the Easton Area Library District Librarian Jennifer Stocker regarding a change in their municipality’s District Library assignment.
The citizens of the municipalities we serve enjoy library services because their government leaders believe libraries are a vital service to their constituents.
We strongly urge residents of a town that does not currently support library services to contact their local officials and let them know you are interested and committed to having them support library service as part of responsive and responsible municipal government. As a citizen you have the power of the vote and it is the answer to the change you seek in this situation.
If you need assistance with information about our services that you feel would be helpful to you when speaking to your local officials we would be glad to provide it.
Lynn Snodgrass-Pilla, Director
Memorial Library of Nazareth & Vicinity, Nazareth PA
 The Board has the jurisdiction to set policy for non-residents. The Memorial Library of Nazareth operates under the Pennsylvania Library Code.