Ciresi offers bill to boost library revenue

HARRISBURG, March 4 – As a means to enhance libraries’ abilities to generate local revenue and reduce their reliance on fickle government funding, state Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, has reintroduced legislation that would exclude sales tax for library book sales. 

Current state law allows libraries to use isolated sales – fewer than seven days each year – of used books without paying sales tax as a means of generating additional revenue. Ciresi’s legislation would expand that to allow libraries to sell used books for supplemental income without paying sales tax throughout the year. 

“This would grant an extra way Pennsylvania’s 470 libraries could help support themselves,” Ciresi said. “Especially in the context of long-term funding issues for libraries on the local government and state levels, locally generated revenue, including fundraising and donations, have become increasingly important in ensuring libraries can continue to provide their valuable services.” 

Ciresi said while libraries have long been known as a safe place to access books and educational resources, and over 40% of Pennsylvanians are registered library users, libraries also offer STEM programs and equipment, provide crucial internet and computer access to many under-served people, engage in workforce development and provide additional access to services, including passports. 

“So many Pennsylvanians rely on libraries for many aspects of their lives,” Ciresi said. “So, we need to find additional ways to support them and ensure they can remain a valuable resource for years to come.” 

The bill, which had been introduced with bipartisan support in the 2019-20 legislative session but didn't receive a vote, was reintroduced this session as H.B. 708 and was referred to the House Finance Committee for further review.