Preliminary figures from a new American Library Association survey of how libraries fared in 2009 show that nearly 75 percent of them were handed significant government budget cuts, forcing libraries to reduce services. Pennsylvania registered a 27 percent reduction in state library aid.
Only three states -- New Mexico, North Dakota and Texas -- increased funding.
At the same time, demand for services was growing, fueled in part by rising unemployment. The jobless were flocking to their public libraries to use their Internet services to look for work.