The Lancaster County Public Library Task Force has spent the last nine months interviewing and surveying the many partners involved in the library affairs of Lancaster County. We have met with the System Board, Library Directors and library staff. In addition, we have travelled to four different counties to learn what others are doing.
What we have learned is that there is no one model which could be held out as a clear example for replication. What we have also seen is the extraordinary commitment by Lancaster County libraries to provide services in a very difficult economic climate.
There is no question that the stable funding is a crucial component and one that must be continually addressed to insure the future of the libraries in our community.
What is less clear is what the roadmap to the future of our libraries should look like. At times it has been difficult to get clear and concise answers in order to form a collective consensus. It almost seems that those with the most to gain or lose have staked their hopes on a magic pill which could prepare us for the next generation of libraries.
It is our collective opinion that the System, member libraries and local governing boards are not always on the same page or share the same visions for the future. There is also a real difference among member libraries in both need and level of service required due to the diversity of these libraries and the communities they serve.
Fortunately, Lancaster County has provided us with a hope and method to move us forward. The Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan is a model that has both achieved success and provided a venue to develop a collective vision for what our community should look like in the next twenty years. With this as a guide post, we might yet successfully meet our future.