Ohio Library Funding Notes

AshtabulaGuy writes "It's state budget time in Ohio! The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Barberton Public Library is seeking a property tax levy from voters in its district in Summit County. After failing last fall to get a property tax levy passed by voters to shore up its budget, the library is trying again. The article notes that due to state-level funding uncertainty the need for more local funding increases. Meanwhile in Seneca County, county officials made a major attempt to lobby state lawmakers to not cut revenue sharing funds. The article notes that libraries would receive a 5% cut to funds received from the state. It must be noted, though, that the budget briefing by Governor Taft's Office of Budget and Management (Adobe Acrobat document) discusses that funding levels would be frozen at a prior fiscal year's levels. Seneca County Commissioners are attempting to organize a trip of affected officials to Columbus to speak out at a House Finance Committee hearing. Then in Marietta, the Marietta Times notes that Marietta has joined a group of southeastern Ohio municipalities opposing cuts. The article reports that Taft reportedly designed the cuts to reflect reliance by affected entities on state level funds. The article notes that since libraries often rely on state level funds for 95-100% of their operating budgets, libraries were only given a 5% cut. Marietta is already facing budget stresses trying to recover from flooding in recent months. Christine Borne notes that Syracuse University is expanding to Cleveland by creating a program site at Case Western Reserve University even while local public libraries in Cuyahoga County and local governments discuss merging library districts and creating staffing redundancies. Although a consolidation is being initiated by local officials in Cuyahoga County, one state lawmaker is proposing consolidations of various library districts in Warren County with an eye to what other counties have either done or may be planning. American Libraries online provided some background to the matter although such may become dated son. Finally, the Ohio Library Council has started a "Protect Library Funding" effort that notes that a substitute proposal by Ohio House members, which may vary to an unknown extent from Governor Taft's proposal, is expected to be introduced in April. A call to action for Ohioans is posted at the site."

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