Access Pennsylvania Statewide Library Card
Explanation of the Program
Commonwealth Libraries, part of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, oversees the Public Library Code, coordination of library services, and public library funding. Commonwealth Libraries assigns legal service area to public libraries. Service areas designate the geographic area in which people live who are eligible for service at no charge from that library.
Commonwealth Libraries is a financial partner with local governments in providing library service to communities. As a first step to receiving State Aid dollars, a public library must show Commonwealth Libraries that its community is willing to make a commitment to stable financial support.
Until the Access Pennsylvania Statewide Library Card System began in the late 1980s, people could only use libraries located in their own communities. Through this program, the state subsidizes a portion of each library’s costs for lending materials to non-residents.
However, people can only get a library card with an Access Pennsylvania sticker on it if they live in a community that has established or maintains a public library. If they live in a community that supports a library, that library becomes their ‘home’ library. Only the person’s home library can issue a library card with an Access Pennsylvania sticker. Library cards with Access Pennsylvania stickers cannot be issued to people that do not live in the library’s service area.
Explanation of Fee Library Cards vs. No Charge for Residents of Perry County
In 1999, Commonwealth Libraries created a requirement that state-aided libraries and library systems must receive at least $5 in local financial support for each person in its service area to be eligible for state aid and participation in the Access Pennsylvania Statewide Library Card program. The Perry County Library System could not meet the $5 per capita minimum expenditure requirement for the entire county population and the system was forced to disband for state-aid purposes.
Today, each of the four public libraries operate as independent libraries with individual service areas. These service area changes have resulted in areas of Perry County that do not receive library service at no charge (known as unserved areas.) Thus people who live in these thirteen Perry County municipalities must pay for library services from Cumberland County:
- Carroll Township
- Duncannon Borough
- Landisburg Borough
- Liverpool Borough
- Liverpool Township
- New Buffalo Borough
- Penn Township
- Saville Township
- Spring Township
- Tuscorora Township
- Tyrone Township
- Watts Township
- Wheatfield Township
Residents of all other Perry County townships and borough may receive Access Pennsylvania service from Cumberland County at no charge. To obtain a library card at no charge, Perry County residents must present a valid Perry County library card with an Access Pennsylvania sticker on it along with proof of identity and address.