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Wolf Administration: Supporting Libraries Supports Our Communities

05/06/2022

Philadelphia, PA - Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Executive Deputy Secretary Dr. Debora Carrera and Deputy Secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries Susan Banks today visited the Free Library of Philadelphia to advocate for continued library funding and highlight the role libraries play in communities across the commonwealth.

“Libraries play a critical role in supporting their residents, visitors, and communities,” said Dr. Carrera. “It is imperative that we ensure continued funding to help libraries like the Free Library of Philadelphia continue to provide invaluable services to learners of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life.”

In his 2022-23 budget proposal, Governor Tom Wolf has requested a $1.25 million increase for libraries, including a $1 million increase in the Public Library Subsidy. The subsidy goes directly to local libraries, library systems, 29 district library centers, and provides every Pennsylvanian access to statewide resource center libraries at State Library of Pennsylvania, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the libraries of The Pennsylvania State University.

“The Free Library is a significant resource for all Pennsylvanians, and especially for residents of Philadelphia who depend on the library for key services such as computer access, internet connection, afterschool programs, and access to materials both in person and online that educate, enlighten, and entertain,” said Kelly Richards, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “Now more than ever, it is important to invest in libraries as centers of their communities and safe spaces for their residents.”

The Free Library of Philadelphia has 54 locations across Philadelphia, providing homework help, English Language Learning (ELL) classes, supportive job search assistance, and more. The library exists to provide a safe haven for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and opportunities for discussion supported by educational resources, access to a vast array of information, and ideas that transform communities, open minds, and promote inclusion.

“We’re excited to introduce Kelly Richards, the new President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, one of our flagship Pennsylvania Libraries to Dr. Deb Carrera, a lifelong user of the Free Library system,” said Deputy Secretary Banks. “These two leaders are powerhouses in building strong communities through learning and libraries. Drawing the educational ecosystem closer together through early learning, K-12, higher education and libraries will empower learners of all ages and circumstances to live their best lives.”

Pennsylvania is committed to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians can easily access the library resources that exist not only in their own communities but also across the commonwealth. The commonwealth helps defray the cost of basic operations of Pennsylvania’s more than 600 local public libraries that annually serve more than 16 million visitors who borrow nearly 60 million books, including digital content.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on FacebookTwitterYouTube, or Pinterest.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kendall Alexander - kenalexand@pa.gov

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