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Breaking News: LIBRARY CUTS
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. 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. 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.
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 Our Library?
Contact your legislators! Let your state legislators and the governor know what the Peninsula Library means to you! Contact:
Brian G. Williams
Ohio House of Representatives 41st District
Ohio Senate 27th District
Governor Ted Strickland
Post a message on Governor Strickland's Facebook page.
Senator Bill Harris,
President of the Senate
Senator John Carey
Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
Representative Armond Budish
Speaker of the House
Representative Vernon Sykes
Chairman of the House Finance Committee
Spread the word! After contacting your legislators, help us by spreading the word to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.