(Posted July 9, 2015)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” said Chris Long, director of the Plain City Public Library.
Like most libraries around Ohio, Plain City’s library has seen a significant drop in state funding over the last several years. In 2000, the library received $454,900 from the state; in 2014, it received $337,000.
“Meanwhile, we’ve had 15 years of inflation. Utility bills, supplies, material costs—everything has gone up exponentially,” Long said.
To make ends meet, the library has cut back on staff hours, reduced spending on technology, and stretched the life of equipment and materials past optimal use.
To make up for the loss in state funding and better serve patrons, the library is asking voters to approve additional local funding in the form of a 1.5-mill levy to replace the current 0.75-mill levy. The measure will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The current levy generates about $200,000 per year. If passed, the new levy would generate about $522,000 per year. The cost to the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would be $52.50 per year before rollback breaks or exemptions.
Over the past 18 months, the library has surveyed patrons about what services they would like to see added or reinstated. Patrons were most vocal about hours, Long said. The library has been closed on Fridays since 2009. If the levy passes, the library could reinstate more hours.
“We also need to step up on our outreach to get into the rural areas of our district. We’ve been looking at ways to make access to library services more equitable across the entire district,” Long said.
The library serves residents in the Jonathan Alder Local School District.
“It’s been an interesting run. We’re optimistic (about the levy), but we will continue to look at the most efficient ways we can get things done,” Long said.
The Plain City Public Library is located at 305 W. Main St. For more information, call (614) 873-4912.