Save Ohio Libraries!
Hey everyone. Ohio has some of the best libraries in the country, and I am very lucky to have benefited from their resources and programming as a kid, but Ohio public libraries are in danger. Ohio has a 10.8% unemployment rate. In times of economic distress libraries are used more than any other time, and the funding is always slashed. Public libraries are many people’s only access to the Internet, and as you all know, that is how people find and apply for jobs. Additionally, many government services are only available online. People also need the library to access newspapers, homework help, free classes, story times, SAT preparation guides, scholarship funding manuals, and so so so much more. So if the public libraries aren’t open, then people won’t be able to access the resources they need. The library is more than a place for books. It is an integral part of who we are as a society. Libraries strive to create a population of skilled information consumers, and this is the foundation of democracy. Ohio needs your help. Please, send an email to Governor Strickland today.
The following is from the Ohio Library Council Web site – http://www.olc.org/SaveOhioLibraries.asp
Why are Ohio public libraries in trouble?
At a news conference on Friday, June 19, the Governor 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.
The proposal amounts to a 30% cut in funding for Ohio’s public libraries. 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.
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.
What can I do to help Save Ohio Libraries?
Resume editorial from LibraryLea
I’m counting on you dear friends and readers to support Ohio libraries, and to do it in a way that shows that you are a person to be listened to. Some of the posts on the Facebook page are, well, typical Facebook posts, but we are educated library users and professionals and have a deep understanding of the role of libraries in our communities. I thank you all for your help!