Major funding cuts to the York County Library System

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) -- Major funding cuts are impacting the York County Library System. It has 4,700 programs, and all of them are at risk of being cut. Fifty-two paid employees are also at risk of losing hours.

Those cuts are not only affecting employees but the lives of loyal users who depend on the library.

The library helps U.S. Army veteran Bryan Gillespie deal with his PTSD.

"It's calm. It's quiet, and I need that," Gillespie said. "It was like you've got to be kidding me. There's got to be something I can do to help."

York County's seven libraries are reducing a total of 64 hours a week, or 256 hours a month.

"Trying to stuff something in three hours that I put five hours into before, that's just really tough," Gillespie said.

The programs being cut include everything from after-school programs, literacy and STEM sessions, and reading. Caitlin Kolpak is one of the employees having her hours cut back.

"My husband and I, we've had to redo our budgets," Kolpak said. "The library is a safe haven for everyone from birth on up. It's a place where kids can go that's not on the streets."

York County commissioners cut $300,000 in December and plan to put that money into the ongoing opioid crisis. Robert Lambert, the president of York County Libraries, says it is circulating a petition on Facebook, asking county commissioners to reconsider the cuts.

"It's frustrating, but I think what we have to do is help the county commissioners understand that we are a strategic partner in the fight of the opioid epidemic," Lambert said.

York County libraries could lose $1.6 million in state funding if the cuts are not restored.

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