Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

When Tom Ridge was governor of the commonwealth, he realized the importance of local libraries in the community. He established strict guidelines for libraries to follow, and with that, he made sure the state government help foot the bill.
But Gov. Ridge has moved on. Unfortunately, all the steps libraries took forward under his watch crumbled this year when the state passed a budget cutting library funding nearly in half.
As a result, directors of the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library say this year’s annual fund drive is more urgent than ever.
“We’re really in a state of desperation,” said Fred D. Thomas, president of the library’s board of directors. “This fundraising is crucial for the library’s operation this year.”
According to Thomas, library directors decided not to pursue heavy fundraising activities in January or February of this year for the $650,000 project that will bring a new, state-of-the-art library facility to Tyrone later this March. Instead, Thomas said he hopes the residents realize the importance of the annual appeal and make contributions in that area.
“The money we collect during this appeal is strictly for operating expenses,” said Thomas. “But it’s not free. Although it’s free to come in and borrow books, work on the computers or read a magazine, someone still pays. The state and local governments, as well as generous members of our community, provide these resources through their donations.”
According to Thomas, the final state budget reduced the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library’s allocation by 31 percent, or approximately $13,000 this year, and the annual fund drive to cover expenses was $3,000 less this past year than the previous year.
Because of those cuts, library officials had to do something they didn’t want to do – cut services. This included: reducing the hours of operation 11 hours per week; cutting the paid staff hours and spending less on utilities; reducing the number of books and magazines purchased; eliminating the “high speed” line that provided seven connections to the Internet, keeping one dial-up line; closing the third floor (except for the used book sale); and raising late fees and fees for copying.
“Whether we can restore some of these services or whether we have to cut further will depend on the success of this fund appeal,” said Thomas.
Last week, the board of directors mailed out more than 1,200 appeal letters to the community. Those interested in making a tax-deductible contribution can mail it to Tyrone-Snyder Public Library, 1019 Logan Avenue, Tyrone, PA 16686.

By Rick