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York County Library System loses $300,000 in funding

YORK COUNTY, Pa. —  The York County Library System is already seeing the impact of a $300,000 funding loss. The York County Commissioners decided to scale...

YORK COUNTY, Pa. --  The York County Library System is already seeing the impact of a $300,000 funding loss.

The York County Commissioners decided to scale back the funding in December 2017 and reallocate it towards fighting the growing opioid epidemic.

The president says 7 of the 13 library branches will now have shorter hours which means some of the 52 employees will have their hours cut.

The loss could mean something much more dire for the York County Library System.

“What does that risk is $1.6 million from the state and state funds," said Robert Lambert, the president of the York County Library System.

The Library System is a district library center for both York and Adams Counties.

That means the library must meet certain state requirements.

“We are required to be open 65 hours a week. We are required to spend half a million dollars on books," said Lambert.

And with less funds, the president says the library system takes the chance of not meeting those standards.

More than 200,000 cardholders may soon feel the impact too.

"Less programs, less books. It’s going to impact our staff. We’re going to be open less hours," explained Lambert.

“It’s just a quiet place. I just like to hang out. No problems. I keep to myself. It’s just a good place to be, to think," said Dalton Greenlee.

The cut also means less new technology and programs for kids which are invaluable to some.

"You know they learning a lot, though… and you got to share, you know, share the computers with other kids," said Linda Turner of York. She brings her grandchildren to the library on weekends and after school.

To make it worse, officials say card holders want more from their libraries.

“We completed a countywide feasibility study that told us that people throughout York County, they want enhanced library services. They want improved library services. They want more libraries," added Lambert.

The York County Library System requested a state waiver to keep the additional $1.6 million in funding it could lose.

Starting on Saturday, the reduced hours takes effect.

A spokesman for the York County Commissioners said in a statement: "The York County commissioners feel York County Libraries are an asset to the community. York County government has been, like so many other entities and governments, faced with difficult budgeting processes over the last few years. The county’s ordinance denoting a tax for libraries allows for annual review of the funding allocation with respect to the county’s budget. The commissioners balanced the 2018 budget without a tax increase. The library system is still receiving $2.4 million from the county and has, since 2005, received roughly $15 million from the county’s real estate tax. This is separate from other funding streams that financially support the libraries.

Over the last several years, the county has scaled back its allocation funding to a dozen vital community groups, removing nearly $320,000 from its special allocation budget. It should also be noted that, since the library tax is a percentage, the amount generated will fluctuate based on real estate tax revenues.”