Libraries Facing Budget Cuts

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One of the groups feeling the state budget squeeze is public libraries in our area.

The governor wants to slash state funding by five percent.

Some library officials said they don't know how much more belt tightening they can do.

Thousands of people use the Hazleton area public library every year, but there is uneasiness there. That`s because the governor's budget calls for a five percent reduction in funding. For the library in Hazleton that`s about 11 thousand dollars.

“We're being squeezed every year and will result in more cuts in materials. We don't know if anything will happen with hours we just have to wait and see books, CDs, DVDs internet everything we do will have to take a little hit there is no doubt about it,” said James Reinmiller of the Hazleton Area Public Library.

Library patrons said the governor's priorities are out of whack.

“I think there are other ways they could make the budget work other than cutting education and library service,” said Sharlene Peterson of Hazleton.

“They do need to make some cuts, education is not the place to start, people who are willing to work hard and study hard and that`s just wrong,” said Joe McGarry of Hazleton.

Library officials said times are tough and, at the Tamaqua library they sell donated books, and for Valentine's day you can get 20 paperback books for a buck.

That fundraiser and others will help keep the Tamaqua library out of the red.

“So there has been a six percent increase in the total overall use of the library people coming in using our computers, taking out books, taking out books on CD,” said Gayle Heath of Tamaqua Area Public Library.

Heath worries about future budget cuts.

“If it continues we would look at cutting our Saturday hours or decreasing our staff,” said Heath.

The governor's budget is not final. It still must be approved by the state legislature.