Ohio PLs Place Operating Levies on May Ballots
Push for local supplements aided by more sophisticated advocacy efforts
Lynn Blumenstein -- Library Journal, 04/08/2010
- Save Ohio Libraries acts as levy clearinghouse
- Sophisticated advocacy efforts
- More first-time levies emerge
Since state support for Ohio’s public libraries was cut 30 percent this last summer, many library systems have launched local levy efforts for operational support, with many successes (see LJ’s annual referenda article). Last November, some 81 percent of Ohio levies were approved.
On May 4, another round of Ohio library levies is up for consideration. Save Ohio Libraries, a grassroots organization dedicated to "keeping Ohio’s libraries open and running," has compiled a list of 19 ballots along with news updates and advocacy links to aid library supporters.
Multifaceted advocacy efforts may be a key to Ohio’s levy successes. Many libraries have distinctly named web sites devoted to explaining the need for more funding. Sophisticated social-networking components such as embedded YouTube videos, Facebook, and Twitter reiterate the message.
May levy highlights
The Akron-Summit Public Library has created a separate Levy Campaign 2010 web site (logo at right) devoted to the successful renewal of a 2004 operating levy. The 1.4 mill renewal would provide 50 percent of the library’s operating budget of $12 million.
The Ashtabula County District Library hopes to establish a first-time 1.25 mill levy, as it has been relying on the state to provide 95 percent of its budget. (It has lost $2 million in state funding since 2001.) The five-year levy would raise $1.4 million. The Citizens for Adequate Library Funding group is soliciting funds for the campaign via treasureyourlibrary.com.
Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library seeks funding beginning in 2011 to reopen the Northside Branch, reinstate hours in the five branches, and restore the materials budget. The Get Your Library Back site explains how the first-time levy would bring library funding back to 2001 levels by producing approximately $1 million annually over five years.
Clark County Public Library, Springfield, looks to an inaugural levy to make up for the $2 million in state cuts plus $1 million in additional expenses since 2000. Prominent links on the library’s home page lead to a two-page levy fact sheet plus a "How Libraries Stack Up: 2010" brochure.
The Lorain Public Library System has a replacement levy for its Columbia Branch, a .3 mill increase that would restore hours over four days and increase materials and programming. A fact sheet highlights the substantial losses should the levy fail: only one public computer, no new materials, the loss of three staffers, and service hours reduced to three half-days.
First-time levy efforts are being pursued by several libraries, among them: Granville Public Library, Lane Libraries, Holmes County District Public Library (which lost a November ballot), Mason Public Library, Middletown Public Library, and Wornstaff Memorial Public Library, Ashley.