July 22, 2009- At its monthly meeting Tuesday, July 21, the Stark County District Library Board of Trustees endorsed a plan to institute service cutbacks in line with current economic and budget conditions. The passage of the new Ohio biennial budget on July 13 included provisions that further cut revenue to Ohio libraries to a total reduction of 31%. For the Stark County District Library this means that the library will have to reduce its expenses by more than $1 million in the last half of 2009. In 2010, the library anticipates that its revenue will be at least $2.4 million less than it was in 2008. read the full story.
July 13, 2009- The Ohio General Assembly's conference committee on the 2010-2011 state budget today accepted a proposal to cut Ohio's Public Library Fund (PLF) $84.3 million over the next two years. The cut is substantially less than the approximate $227.3 million cut proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland on June 19 but will still have a significant impact on the services provided by Ohio's public libraries.
Ohio's public libraries have the citizens of Ohio to thank for exerting extraordinary influence on their elected representatives in the Ohio General Assembly to minimize the cuts to library funding. We believe the overwhelming groundswell of public support convinced the legislature to reject the Governor's massive cuts, and attempt to preserve library funding as much as possible during this challenging financial situation.
The budget cuts, combined with the precipitous drop in the PLF in the first six months of this year as a result of declining state tax revenues, will result in library funding dropping as much as 25-30% in 2009 as compared to calendar year 2008. The decreased funding comes at a time when Ohio's public libraries are experiencing an unprecedented increase in the demand for services.
In July 2009, public libraries received 22% less funding than they received in July 2008. It is expected that based just on the formula, public libraries will likely receive close to 20% less money in 2009 than they did in 2008. Although Ohio's economy is faltering along with that of rest of the country, public libraries believed that they could withstand those reductions through layoffs, reduced material purchases, and reduction in operating hours. An additional cut of 11% will be difficult to manage by some libraries.
This is a budget with which no one can be happy, but the OLC appreciates the Ohio General Assembly's effort to restore $143 million to the Public Library Fund. This bill means that Ohio's public libraries will not face cuts that could have amounted to 50% of previous funding. However, depending upon the accuracy of the projections made by the Ohio Department of Taxation, libraries could still be looking at cuts that could be as much as 30%.
June 30, 2009- The Ohio Legislature has passed an interim budget and we expect final decisions on library funding to be made within next week. We thank you for your continued support of library funding.
June 22, 2009 - At a news conference on Friday, June 19, Governor Ted Strickland proposed a cut to state funding for public libraries of $227.3 million in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 as part of his plan to fill the $3.2 billion gap in the budget that must be balanced by the Ohio General Assembly's Conference Committee by June 30. This cut is in addition to the 20% reduction in funding that libraries are already facing. This could mean a 50% cut in state funding for Ohio public libraries. read the full story
A study by the ALA reports that 73% of U.S. public libraries report that they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.
Read the Stark County District Library's Email Newsletter addressing library funding.
What Could Happen...
"Where will you go when your library closes?" is a question Ohioans have to ask themselves. Where will your teens go when the safe and constructive places they visit after school are gone?
If enacted Strickland's late hour proposal to cut $227.3 million in funding to Ohio's public library will be devastating. This move could not come at a worse time when libraries have been stressed by nearly a decade of funding freezes and cuts.
Libraries have always been a refuge for those who seek self-improvement. For the last 15 years they have also been the place for those who cannot afford Internet access. For many Ohioans, libraries may be the only way to participate in the information economy.
Closing public libraries will send a message to young people, "Go elsewhere." Strickland's proposal contributes to a downward spiral from which Ohio will never recover.
What You Can Do...
Contact Your Elected Officials:
Governor Ted Strickland Governor's Office Riffe Center, 30th Floor 77 South High Street Columbus, OH 43215-6108 General Info: (614) 466-3555 Fax: (614) 466-9354 Email: Go to http://www.governor.ohio.gov/
State Senator Joseph Schiavoni (33rd District) Senate Building Room #052, Ground Floor Columbus, Ohio 43215 Phone: (614) 466-8285 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
State Representative Stephen D. Slesnick (52nd District) Columbus, OH Office: 77 S. High Street 13th Floor Columbus, OH 43215-6111 Phone: (614) 466-8030 Fax: (614) 719-6952 Email: email@example.com
Cut and paste this text into an email to Governor Strickland, your Ohio Senator, or Ohio Representative.
I am contacting you today to express my concern over the proposed cut to the Public Library Fund (PLF). Approximately 70% of our state’s libraries are funded solely through the PLF. Cutting this fund will result in closures, layoffs, and reduced hours in libraries throughout Ohio.
These proposed funding cuts come at a time when Ohio’s public libraries are experiencing unprecedented increases in demands for services. Ohioans value their libraries to assist in educating their children, providing high speed Internet access, job searching and employment research, as well as information and entertainment. That cuts would be made to the PLF at this time effects those who need the library most during these rough economic times: the unemployed, who use library resources for job seeking, and children, whose education should always be our first priority. However, it is unlikely that many of Ohio’s public libraries can remain open with these proposed cuts.
Please do as much as you can to help reject the Governor’s proposed cut on the PLF and Save Ohio’s libraries.
Sincerely, [your name]
Spread the word!
After contacting your legislators, help us spread the word to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Here are some suggestions:
Send an email to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues Ohio libraries are in jeopardy. I contacted the governor and my legislators to let them know what my library means to me. Find out how you can help, too: http://bit.ly/saveohlibs
Update your Facebook status _____ contacted my elected officials to help save Ohio libraries and you should too. Find out more: http://bit.ly/saveohlibs
Post a tweet on Twitter I contacted my elected officials to help save Ohio libraries and you should too. Find out more: http://bit.ly/saveohlibs #saveohiolibraries
Change your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites
Right click on the image at left, save it to your desktop, and upload as your profile picture to show your support of Ohio libraries
Thank you for your continuing support of the library!