Local Community Rallies Behind Closed Library

Cuts to state funding lead a local library to close its doors for one week.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - Cuts to state funding lead a local library to close its doors for one week.

Schlow Library in State College is closed through Friday to save money. The local community is rallying behind it Tuesday.

"Mr. Governor, please give more money to Schlow Library," 7 year-old State College resident Ellie Kaufman said.

That's the sentiment echoing through the streets of downtown State College Tuesday as dozens of people gathered to rally behind Schlow Library.

Kaufman is one of many sad to see the library closed.

"When Ellie first heard the library was closing for a week, she immediately went home and took some of her tooth fairy money and said she wanted to give it to the library," her dad, Aaron Kaufman, said.

Library officials said closing this week will help reduce staff and building costs. None of the 40 part time and full time staff will be paid during the week and no visitors are being accepted.

"It's certainly a missed opportunity to come and pick something up," State College resident, Al Jones, said.

Jones is disappointed to see the local landmark close and worries what it could mean for the future.

"It clearly is not a priority among politicians for lots of reasons," Jones said. "What we need to do is make them afraid to cut this cost."

Since 2007, state aid has declined steeply for local libraries across the state. Schlow has lost more than $900,000.

"If we're serious about getting people back to work, if we're serious about creating jobs, if we're serious about making young people job read, we need libraries," Representative Scott Conklin said.

Conklin supports the libraries efforts to speak up and reach out. He said it will make a difference.

"We're doing the budget now. Many times, I hear my colleagues say, well it must not be important because nobody has contacted me," he said. "Let's make it important, let's make them contact legislators, let them know how important this is."

The library will remain closed through Friday. For more information and to learn how you can help, visit the Schlow Library website.

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