BELLEFONTE, CENTRE COUNTY – This week is National Library Week, and in Centre County one local library is marking the celebration with $200,000 renovation.
“If you had seen our building you would know that we are desperately in need of this renovation. I think it’s so important that we have access to people in wheel chairs; the physically handicapped couldn't really enter our building,” Centre County Library Executive Director Lisa Erickson said.
Now every member of the public can browse the books at the Centre county Public Library in downtown Bellefonte. If you think library cards and overdue books are a thing of past, think again.
“People are still very much reading, information is becoming more and more important even now with the computers people want access now and fast,” Erickson said.
The Centre County Library saw a 14 percent jump in usage last year alone, but the uptick in folks using computers and checking out books does not mean libraries are getting more money from the state. It is, in fact, just the opposite there was a 21 percent cut in funding last year, and librarians are expecting another trim this year.
“(The state) raised funding for schools, while they have cut funding for libraries.They don't seem to understand the vital role that we play in serving people of all ages. We're the ones who are open when schools close at 3:00 p.m. everyday,” Schlow Centre Region Library Director Catherine Alloway said.
The recession is the main reason libraries have seen a big surge in usage, Erickson and Alloway said people like checking out DVDs, music CDs, even computer software all for free from the library.
The Centre County Library is celebrating its new renovated space on Friday. For more information, click here.