Frequently Asked Questions
How many people are served by the library every year in our community and in what ways?
There are currently more than 130,000 library cardholders using the library system. In 2015, libraries were visited in person nearly 700,000 times and there were more than 735,000 virtual visits—a total of 1.3 million library visits last year.
It would be impossible to list all the ways in which the library serves the community, but here are some key examples from 2015:
- Books, magazines, and other items borrowed nearly 1.2 million times.
- More than 22,278 children attended library programs—equal to 61 children for every day of the year.
- 95,739 questions answered for library users by our library staff.
- Library computers used 150,849 times—equal to 29 computer sessions for every day of the year.
With the emergence of the Internet, won’t libraries no longer be needed?
The Internet has changed HOW people use the library but not how often. In 2013, there were more than 2.5 million searches performed on library research databases. Readers now use the library for access to free downloadable e-books and other digital resources. Borrowers get updates on when items are due via text message and email. Many people visit the library to learn how to search the Internet properly, what sources are trustworthy and how to wade through the millions of results an Internet search can generate.
They also visit to use traditional library services, which are still in demand. Print books to borrow, storytimes, family programs, research tools and reference services are all still heavily used in our community.
How is the library funded and why are charitable gifts and this campaign so important?
The library is funded through several revenue streams. One of these is a dedicated library tax administered by the County that provides about 67% of library funding. State aid to libraries provides another 20%. The rest of the funding comes from grants, charitable gifts and other sources.
Government funding is essential to providing a solid operating base for public library service, but it can’t bear the full weight of providing the level of service our community needs in order to thrive. A public library is a community asset. Everyone benefits, regardless of economic status, age, or background. They either benefit directly through use of the library, or indirectly through an educated workforce and a community that has access to important information, including government information, when they need it.
If you think of the public library as a partnership with the community, you can see why community investment is important. Support from charitable gifts allows the library to stabilize core service against drops in public funding, and also to be responsive to specific needs of our residents—such as programs for at-risk children or delivery of materials to homebound adults. And it helps to secure government funding, too, as those funders want to see that the community both needs and supports the library that benefits them.
Recent studies show that Pennsylvania libraries return $5.50 in benefits for every dollar invested in them. Donations and other non-tax support makes for a good investment, a good library, and a great community.
What are the primary goals of this special 2nd Century Campaign?
We have two goals. #1 is to attract 100 new or increased planned gifts. #2 is to raise $700,000 in current gifts that will fund a library outreach van, computer lab, and adult life skills programs as well as provide the initial three years of funding for an Early Education Specialist, a Youth Services Specialist and an Adult Program & Outreach Coordinator.
Why are planned gifts so important for The Library’s future?
As we reflect on and celebrate 100 years of service, this focused endowment and planned giving effort will ensure that, whatever form the quest for knowledge takes in the future, our community will thrive through having access to mind-expanding, literacy-building resources.
Am I able to restrict my gift for use at a particular library or for a specific purpose?
While unrestricted gifts provide the future generation of library leaders with the most flexibility, donors may contribute to a specific endowed fund that has been established for each distinct geographic area in the library’s service area, or a new restricted use endowment fund may be established for gifts of $25,000 or greater. All restricted gifts are subject to approval by The Library’s Development, Marketing & Public Relations Committee.
How will the library recognize campaign contributors?
All 2nd Century Campaign donors will be recognized as listed on the Donor Recognition Opportunities page.
Over how many years may I pay my pledge?
For current gifts, pledge payments may be made over a period of three to five years.
Will my contribution be tax deductible?
Yes. The library is a 501(c)(3) organization, so contributions are deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
We would be happy to discuss with you and your advisor various options for tax-effective giving.