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June 22, 2009

Budget proposal devastating to libraries!

The cut to the Public Library Fund is less than originally proposed, but still significant.

Governor's budget proposal devastating to public libraries

State legislature's June 30 decision would take effect July 1.

At a news conference on Friday, June 19, the Governor proposed a further cut to state funding for public libraries of 30% ($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, because their funding comes from 2.22% of the state’s declining General Revenue Fund.

This will mean a more than 50% CUT IN FUNDING for many of Ohio's public libraries. Libraries could close or face significant reductions in operations as a result of the Governor's proposal. With some 70% of the state's 251 public libraries relying solely on state funding to fund their operations, the reduction in funding will mean that many will close branches or drastically reduce hours and services.

The Governor's proposed funding cuts come at a time when Ohio's public libraries are experiencing unprecedented increases in demands for services. In every community throughout the state, Ohioans are turning to their public library for free high speed Internet access and help with employment searches, children and teens are beginning summer reading programs, and people of all ages are turning to the library as a lifeline during these difficult economic times.

Ohio's public libraries offer CRITICAL services to those looking for jobs and operating small businesses. Public libraries are an integral part of education, which Governor Strickland says is critical to the state's economic recovery. But it is unlikely that many of Ohio's public library systems, especially those without local levies, can remain open with these proposed cuts.

About 30% of Ohio's public libraries have local property tax levies that supplement the state's funding. However, with the Governor's proposed drastic cuts in the state funding for libraries, even those libraries will face decisions regarding substantial reductions in hours of operation, materials, and staffing. Local taxes, fine, fees, and donations cannot make up the difference.

The Grandview Library would be hit with a $855,000 reduction per year in state revenue. Consequently, the Library Board would need to drastically reduce services and hours.

For additional information on how this impacts the Library, call Director Mary Ludlum at 614-486-2954.

Let your state legislators and the governor know what your library means to you!

(Email all legislators at once with a form - including sample letter - from the Columbus Metropolitan Library!)

Locate your State Representative or State Senator. Call or click below to directly e-mail your elected officials.

Spread the word!

After contacting your legislators, help us spread the word to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Here are some suggestions:

  • Visit Save Ohio Libraries

  • Update your Facebook status
    "_____ contacted my elected officials to help save Ohio libraries and you should too. Find out more:"

  • Post a message on the Governor's Facebook page

  • Post a tweet on Twitter
    "I contacted my elected officials to help save Ohio libraries and you should too. Find out more:"

  • 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
  • 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:

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