An Introduction to the Exposure Draft of 22 Pa Code Chapter 144 | Compendium

On behalf of Office of Commonwealth Libraries Deputy Secretary Susan Banks and Bureau of Library Development Director Heather Sharpe, I am posting the message and information below for the library field regarding an early draft of library regulations for Pennsylvania.  Read below for more details:

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries is providing an exposure draft to seek input and feedback from the public library field on proposed changes to regulations.

The regulations in 22 Pa Code Part IX (State Library and Advisory Council on Library Development), have not been updated to match the library Statute – 24 Pa.C.S. Chapter 93 (relating to Public Library Code) – since it was enacted in 2012. Updating regulations is the sole responsibility of the Commonwealth program office to which the Statute applies – in this case, the Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL).

The current regulations’ language refers to an earlier code and was focused on a way of funding and regulating libraries that is not reflective of the spirit and priorities of the new Statute, nor is it appropriate support and guidance for 21st century libraries and library services. The conflicts between the 2012 Statute and current regulations, particularly around standards, have consistently been a point of stress and frustration for both libraries and OCL staff.

The draft regulations are so different from the current ones that we are proposing “reserving” (essentially, deleting) much of the existing text in Part IX and replacing it with one new Chapter 144.   The regulations in this draft document are focused primarily on the standards of eligibility, the process for applying for state aid, qualifying financial effort and certification of library personnel.  The content is arranged for ease of understanding and simplifying compliance.

The proposed regulations are geared to clarify and update terms and indicate what additional information can be found in non-regulatory policies and procedures provided by OCL.  This approach should ensure the new regulations will not become outdated as library practices and priorities change.

The exposure draft is only the first step in a lengthy process to review and refine the language in new regulations.  The amendments to the regulations will be effective only upon publication of the final-form rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Your feedback plays a crucial role in ensuring transparency, accountability, and stakeholder involvement in the regulatory process. We encourage you to take the time to review the information on this LibGuide and tell us what you think by completing the feedback form, which will be open from February 29 through April 29.

Please note that this is a DRAFT and the information is for discussion purposes only and does not represent the official or final position of the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Its content is subject to change.