Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's the Scoop in the Borough of Middletown, Pennsylvania?

Facing a $3,000,000 shortfall, the Middletown (PA) Borough Council decides not to fund the library, which translates into a revenue loss of $350,000 in 2013 for the Middletown Public Library.

Some other numbers being thrown around.

$380,000.  The library's endowment fund.  NOT for day-to-day operations.  Some donations have been earmarked for specific uses, such as summer reading program activities or equipment repair.  In most cases, only the interest income can be used.

$160,000.  The state money that borough officials say the library has in reserve.  They pulled this one out of their hats -- or some other storage place. According to Rich Bowra, Executive Director of the Dauphin County Library System, which Middletown opted out of 27 years ago, the Middletown Public Library regularly spends its annual $30,000 stipend.

Middletown Public Library according to the numbers (2010 Pennsylvania public library statistics)
  • Service area population:  9,242
  • Hours open weekly:  50
  • FTE staff:  4.6
  • Catalogued items:  27,706
  • Circulation:  66,958
  • Public access internet computers:  7
  • Total revenue:  $297,263 -- of which $220,660 is reported as local government revenue.
Did the Borough of Middletown increase its appropriation to the library by nearly 60% in 2 years?  I can't imagine that's the case.

Guess we'll have to wait for the next chapter of this story.

In the meantime, you're probably wondering, "What the heck's a borough, for crying out loud?"

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