By: Sarah Rhine & Emma Boksan
The Elizabethtown Public Library will stay open to serve the Elizabethtown community despite rumors suggesting its close.
The library will continue as a non-profit in the Elizabethtown community, receiving both state and municipal funding, as well as community donations. Municipalities like the Elizabethtown Borough, West Donegal Township, Conoy Township, and Mount Joy Township have all contributed financially to the library, which presents a progress report once a year to these contributors.
State funding for the library, however, has gone down in recent years. Every year since 2008, the Elizabethtown Public Library’s state funding has decreased, resulting in an $80,000 reduction.
Decreases in state money have forced the library to rely more heavily on donations and municipality funding. These allow the library to provide supplemental services and programs to the community. Library employee Aimee Nelson said, “One of the things [the municipalities] helped us do was purchase our fingerprinting equipment and that is a service we can now provide because they helped with that.”
For community members who wish to be involved in helping the library, Nelson suggests donating on the library’s website: etownpubliclibrary.org. There is a page on the library’s website, under the tab Financial Support, where donations can be made. There are also donation jars on every desk in the library. In addition, the library accepts gently used books, but doesn’t accept any encyclopedias. Nelson said, “When you donate books, you’re really helping out the library.”
Explaining the library’s financial needs, Nelson said, “We do have to purchase every item that we have, and then we also have to purchase all the extra stickers and barcodes and things that we have to do to keep track of items. We have to pay people to catalog them and keep them in the database and maintain the shelving, and so there’s a lot of time and energy and cost that goes into caring for this many items.” Purchasing new and replacing used books can be a time-intensive process.
The library hosts the Friends of the Library Book Sale twice a year, which helps bring in revenue. There are other events throughout the year that help to benefit the library, as well, which can be found in the Calendar tab of the library’s website. The community plays a key role in the library’s continued ability to serve the greater Elizabethtown area.