Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nothing @ your library

Come July 1, your local library might very well look like this if you live in Ohio. That's the day the newest biennium budget goes into effect. And if it goes into effect as Governor Ted Strickland has proposed, 70% of Ohio's 251 public libraries are effectively closed.

The state faces a $3.2 billion budget deficit. To close the gap by the end of this month, as required by law, many social services will suffer. One of the worst hit services based on the currently proposed budget are Ohio's libraries, which will see half of their state funding vanish from 2009 to 2010. The current budget calls for around $460 million in state funds to be shared by Ohio's public libraries. In each of the next two years, the proposed budget calls for around $227 million for public libraries. Since about 175 of Ohio's libraries rely solely on state funds, this is a looming disaster.

It's simple. No money equals no libraries. No libraries equals no computer services for those applying online for jobs. No libraries equals no business-plan research for those starting a small business. No libraries equals no car-repair manuals for the many do-it-yourselfers who work on their own cars to save money. No libraries equals a loss of a community asset for dozens and dozens of spots around Ohio.

This isn't a call to take money from everywhere else and give it the state's libraries. We're saying cutting library funding in half is like cutting a person in half. While sacrifices need to be made in these horrible economic times, there's no need to destroy Ohio's renowned library service.

Unless you want nothing @ your library, make sure your voice is heard:

* Call the Governor's office at 614-466-3555.
* Call your local state representative.
* Call your state senator.

We have until the end of this week to let the politicians in Columbus know how valued Ohio's library system is.

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