Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Library Funding

Despite what you might have read or heard, libraries are needed now more than ever!

1. Everything is NOT online.
2. Not everyone has online access and not everyone has a smart phone.
3. In economic hard times, use of the library becomes critical (Read this article on the importance of LIBRARIES from the last economic depression)
4.  A LOT of people need help finding information and using the latest technology. Where do those people go?

To the library.

Want some proof?

Take a look of some statistics for the Medina County District Library system for 2016:
  • 711,966 people visited the Medina Libraries. Obviously, some of these were repeat visitors!
  • Over 9,000 children played the Summer Reading Game.
  • 4,908 public meetings were held at the libraries, with 101,059 people attending those meetings.
  • 3,066 passports were issued. Did you know that you could apply for your passport at the Medina, Brunswick and Lodi libraries?
  • 2,700,042 items were checked out. Look at that statistic again. That is over 2 MILLION! Nearly 15% of those items were digital media like digital books, music, magazines, and videos.
  • 336,547 logins were tallied on library computers. The library is the ONLY place you access the internet if you don't have a home computer AND and internet provider or a smart phone.
  • The libraries offered 2,942 programs on topics ranging from lap-sit story times, basic computer skills to robotics. 107,620 people attended those programs!

So libraries are as important, pertinent and even more necessary than ever. Right!!?

Why bring this up?

On May 2nd, the Medina County District Library system has an operating levy renewal on the ballot that accounts for nearly 60% of our operating budget. 60%. Over half. A lot. A WHOLE lot.

The levy money (property taxes) is represented by the teal arc in the pie chart below.

2016 budget statistics on the Library's revenue

This money pays for staffing the libraries, running & repairing six separate buildings & a bookmobile, programs, AND materials (i.e. the books, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, e-media, etc)

The last operating levy was passed in 2007 and has lasted for 10 years. But now it is up for renewal. Without the renewal, the libraries would look very bleak:

Without that money, the picture is very incomplete.

60% fewer materials, 60% fewer open library hours, 60% fewer programs and 60% fewer staff.

The library is also requesting a small increase; an additional .25 mill, which is the equivalent of about $8.75, or the cost of a paperback book.

Learn more about the library levy HERE and remember the library on May 2nd.

In other library funding news:

  1. Ohio Governor Kasich has proposed rollbacks in library funding while at the same time saying libraries should be "continuous learning centers" which libraries already are:  Columbus Dispatch article  
  2. President Trump has proposed doing away with Federal library funding  (Institute of Museum and Library Services): ALA News ReleaseThis money pays for the Ohio Library for the Blind and many of the most used databases, such as Ancestry Library Edition, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and the EbscoHost databases.
We will have to monitor those proposals.

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