Community library in need of funds

"We can't cut back any more. It just isn't possible," Library Director Debbie Robinson said.

The Bethany Public Library, located in the Fireproof Building on 8 Court Street in Bethany, has been coping with financial hardship since 2008.

"We had to cut back to 20 hours a week and let an assistant go," Robinson said. "Mostly due to the bad economy."

The library is located three miles north of Honesdale and serves residents from all over the county.

In a release from the library, Bethany Public Library Board of Directors President Jennifer Lenczwski said, "We are really struggling. Over the past two-and-a-half years that I have been on the board, we have cut hours and staff. We have tirelessly been fundraising, averaging approximately 10 fundraising events per year."

Those events include an upcoming bus trip to the American Girl Store in New York City.

Despite the efforts of the board to obtain funding, the share of funding the library gets from both county and local governments is displaced differently than in other areas of the state.

"Most libraries in the state get the majority of their revenue from a library tax," Robinson said. The rest of the funding, in smaller amounts, comes from state and federal government and fundraising efforts from the library.

The average source of revenue across the state is higher, equalling $15 to $16 per capita.

For the Bethany Public Library, the distribution of funds is vastly different.

"We get almost half of our income from private donations," Robinson said. Another portion of funding comes from the county, township and school districts and totals $4.74 per capita, which is $10.26 less than the state average.

The little library that can is one of the oldest libraries in the county and was established in 1936. The building, called the Fireproof Building, dates back to 1816 with the first Library Society formed in 1815.

The library offers all the amenities of a larger library in a smaller setting. There are books for borrowing, CDs, DVDs and audio books.

"We also have computers and internet service available," Robinson said. They also provide job search assistance, resume and workforce help and access to online practice test for homework help.

Another service the library provides are story times, with a take-home craft, for the smallest library visitors.

"I like to provide the kids with a take-home craft," Robinson said. The sometimes standing room only story times are offered once a week, every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. and twice a week during the summer months.

Robinson also says she does story times for local daycares and preschools. "We never turn a child away," she said.

In order to keep the library open through the tight financial times, Lenczewski said they have been cashing in accumulated assets from past donors and events to help offset costs.

"We're running out of funds," she said.

The library has been cashing around $5,000 per year in bonds to keep the doors open.

"We love our library, and we are trying everything to keep it open. Everyone loves this library," said Robinson.

How to help

The Bethany Public Library is always taking monetary donations of any kind. A donation can be dropped off at the library during its regular hours of operation. Those hours are: Mondays 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Fridays 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Donations by check, made out to the Bethany Public Library, can be mailed to the Bethany Public Library, 8 Court Street, Bethany, PA, 18431.

Craft supplies are also needed by the library for children's crafts, especially glue sticks. Other items the library needs include copier paper.

To learn more about how to help the Bethany Public Library, like them on Facebook at or call 570-253-4349.