Molly Rodgers made a good point on Thursday morning at the Wayne County Courthouse.
Rodgers, executive director of the Wayne County Library System, told county commissioners the financial strain on the libraries is getting to the point it could cause big problems.
She pointed out the libraries in the county are increasingly becoming places where people come to find forms and print them out. Libraries are also expected to have electronic books and perform more and more services with less and less money.
Tony Waldron from the Hawley Library said he believes the county needs to kick in more funding for the libraries since so many county residents use the system.
She is right.
The operative word in the formal title is COUNTY library. The system is designed with all of the residents of Wayne County in mind.
But the commissioners have for a long time given limited funding to the library system.
Not surprisingly, Pennsylvania has no set formula for library funding. Unlike other states, funding in the Keystone State is haphazard at best. It varies from county to county and that causes major problems throughout the state.
The sad part here is Rodgers has directed this system in a very positive manner during her career. The library system in Wayne County is excellent and they are now doing more with less people.
Whether in Honesdale, Hawley or Bethany, you always see local residents using the library.
These are county residents — even if they live in boroughs.
Rodgers told commissioners the day could come when the library simply doesn't have the money to provide services.
The commissioners, of course, said money is tight and it's difficult to find funding for all requests.
Page 2 of 3 - This is their typical line.
They have a recycling program which loses money yet they continue to stand firm on wanting to run it in spite of the fact a private company could handle it just fine and probably better.
That's kind of funny thinking coming from three conservative commissioners who believe there should be less government intrusion.
Apparently it's how they perceive that intrusion.
They also continue to fund a massive security operation that seems just way too much for Wayne County.
Should you really have to walk through a metal detector to get to the 4-H office? Is it really necessary to confiscate a cell phone of someone going to a Conservation District meeting?
(By the way, county commission chairman Brian Smith, who attends the conservation meetings, is allowed to bring his phone into the meeting but our reporter must have hers put under lock and key. That is completely unfair and shows bias on the part of the county. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.)
And most of the time the guards are reading some Harlequin novel or the newspaper because there is so little traffic.
The security situation is way overblown and the commissioners need to take a hard look at just how much money they should spend on this matter.
And there are many other areas within the budget which need to be examined, as well.
The point is there are priorities and when it comes to providing services, libraries should be a top priority.
They are the one place where county residents can go to gain knowledge and to use services which are important. Whether it is tax forms or filling out paperwork for the new national health care plan, this is vital and the library is the only outlet for some people.
Page 3 of 3 - The system of libraries in Wayne County are a wonderful asset to the residents of this area and now is the time for the county commissioners to take a hard look at how they can help.
Everyone in this county pays taxes — and the county upped the ante this year with a tax increase.
But are we getting the biggest bang for our buck?
That's a question which has been asked for years of the county commissioners and there doesn't seem to be a clear answer.