Eleven of the county’s 14 public libraries have given their blessing to the Library System of Lancaster County’s new fundraising plan.

The fundraising agreement gives the LSLC permission to raise funds throughout the county. Traditionally, the system has not engaged in fundraising, leaving its member libraries to solicit funds within their respective service areas.

“Keeping in mind that the overall goal of the fundraising process is to bring the best technology and library materials to the residents of Lancaster County, the majority of Adamstown Area Library's Board of Trustees voted yes to proceed with county-wide fundraising,” said Kathy Thren, director of Adamstown Area Library.

“Strasburg-Heisler Library was on board from the start,” library director Kristin Fernitz wrote in an email. “Our board voted YES, with all in agreement.”

Not everyone agreed: public libraries in Elizabethtown, Ephrata and Lancaster, which combined account for more than half of the county’s library card holders, nixed the plan.

All 14 library boards voted in August or September.

Opponents of the plan argued the LSLC’s efforts could take money out of their operating budgets, if donors opt to give to the system instead of the individual library.

On the other hand, other libraries said they don’t have the resources to raise funds on a large scale and favored the system’s involvement.

The three libraries who did not sign the agreement will not receive any funds raised by the system.

LSLC administrator Bill Hudson, in a statement issued this week by system spokeswoman Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer, said the system has contracted with a fundraising consultant, who will soon begin writing proposals for some of the projects to be funded.

The consultant will then present the proposals to library directors for approval, Hudson said. The proposals “will include the project to be funded, for how much, to what end and from what potential funding sources. The member library directors will vote on each proposal and no proposal will move forward without a majority vote.”

The Elizabethtown, Ephrata and Lancaster libraries serve 52 percent of the county’s population and represent 54 percent of the county’s library card holders. They share 48 percent of the state’s allocation for library services.

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