Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Battles over state budgets have been raging across the country and broke out last month in Ohio as the 129th General Assembly began to grapple with its own budget deficit. At the top of the list of concerns for librarians and library users is the status of the Public Library Fund (PLF) and what will happen to it for the two-year period beginning July 1, 2011.
The PLF replaced the Library and Local Government Support Fund (LLGSF) in 2008. The LLGSF was derived from a percentage of the individual state income tax, whereas the PLF is derived from a percentage of the state’s general revenue (the major portions of which are the sales tax and income tax). With weakness in the Ohio job market, it was thought that the PLF might be a more stable funding source, but the overall depressed economy has proven otherwise.
Shaker Library received 2% less in 2008 through the PLF than in 2007 through the LLGSF. The amount received in 2009 was 19% less than 2007 and the amount received in 2010 was 24% lower than in 2007. Actual dollars received from the state were virtually the same in 2010 as they were in 1993. During that time period, inflation has risen 51% and the state budget has risen 67%!
The good news is that there are some indications that the economy may be improving, but the worry is that the need to reduce state expenditures will force legislators to cut library funding further. The Library would appreciate your support! Please help us express our need for stable state funding for public libraries. I have included a sample letter along with contact information for State Representative Armond Budish and State Senator Nina Turner. Thank you for raising your voice FOR stable library funding.
Representative Budish: 614-466-5441 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Turner: 614-466-4583 or email@example.com.
Despite the loss of state funding and the threats of future reductions we are thankful for the sustained support from our local taxpayers. If not for that, we would have had to make even more drastic cuts in staffing, materials, programs, and services.
We extend our thanks to our faithful Friends who support us in many ways. Last month, they collaborated with the Shaker Historical Society and shared the expenses of bringing in New York author and historian, Anita Sanchez, who spoke at both the Historical Society and the library.
We will celebrate our own March Madness at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Bertram Woods Branch, when PD sportswriter Dan Coughlin, author of Crazy, With the Papers to Prove It, speaks about the many memorable sports characters he has known in his 45 years covering the Cleveland sports scene. Poetry in the Woods continues at Bertram Woods with the Butcher Shop poets: Robert McDonough, Maril Nowak, P.K. Saha, Jane N. Richmond, Suzanne Byerley, Keith Seher, Genevieve Jencson, Jack McGuane, Jesse McGuiness, Evelyn Mavromichalis, Robert Lawry, and Rob Farmer.
Thanks to MyCom grant funds, teens can take advantage of three interesting programs. March 7, 8, 9, 14 & 15, they can design their own video games; March 23 in the Teen Center, they can design their own jewelry, and March 31 they can make a duct tape beach bag at Woods Branch. For children we will hold an American Girl Tea Party (Dolls are optional.) at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at Woods Branch.
If art is your interest, the library will accept entries for the 12th Annual Barbara Luton Art Competition from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 4, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at the Main Library. Jurors for this year’s exhibit are Denise Stewart and Leslie Edwards Huméz. Awards will be presented at the Gallery-Opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, and the exhibit will continue through April 22.
Luren E. Dickinson, Director