Saturday, June 20, 2009

Your local library will be closing July 1 ...

... if it gets all of its funds from the state, and the proposed state budget is passed by the Ohio General Assembly in the next 10 days.

Even if your library has support from a local levy, its services will be slashed. Hours, books, CDs, movies, magazines, research ability, staff, computers -- you'll have very little chance to access any of these.

That's because Governor Ted Strickland's proposed state budget, which by Ohio law must be decided upon by the end of this month, hacks library support in half. Ohio's libraries have traditionally been ranked as the best in the country, or at least in the top three. Part of that is due to healthy support from the state, expected to be around $460 million this year.

That $460 million in the Public Library Fund (PLF) has already been eroded over the year to the tune of 20%. The proposed budget will destroy the fund. And with it, about 175 of the state's 251 public libraries will be destroyed.

The PLF for 2010 and 2011 under the proposed budget is approximately $227 million less than projected for 2009. Passing of Governor Strickland's proposed budget means libraries will have 50% less funds available to them for each of the next two years than they thought they would at the beginning of this year. If it happens, your local library will not be able to function. The Ohio Library Council (OLC) will recommend that many libraries put themselves in mothballs for six months.

Certainly cuts need to be made to reign in a $3.2 billion state budget deficit. But not at the expense of 70% of Ohio's libraries. Even the libraries with local support will be forced to cut hours and staff and offer less materials to the public. They'll have less programs for adults and fewer storytimes for children.

To save Ohio's libraries, please do the following:
* Call the Governor's office at 614-466-3555
* Call your local state representative
* Call your state senator

As for me, I'm a librarian so of course this issue is important to me. Aside from the fact that I believe in the mission of libraries and think they are one of the best services taxpayers received for their money, I might very well be looking for a job if this budget becomes reality. Perhaps this is the reason I have been looking for to leave this state, but I'd kinda like to control my own destiny for just a little while longer.


  1. Thank you for writing this up for all of us who want to share the message.

  2. For all those looking for the latest info: