Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Ohio Money

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Ohio Money

Article excerpt

For years and years, Ohio libraries have been probably the most fortunate in the country when it came to annual budgets. Fifty or more years ago when I was looking into statistics for public libraries, Cleveland always - and I mean always - came out on top in considering the budget for large libraries. That was certainly uppermost in my mind when I was invited to apply for the position of director. I figured that if I got the job it would be the end of budget battles for me. Just sit back and count the money.

Well, I was rejected, which was a good thing. The guy they hired was fired after just a couple of years.

Anyway, Cleveland wasn't the only comfortable library in Ohio. When the state law was written as it came to aid to libraries, it was based on a tax on stocks held by people, and it raised a lot of money. So much that the Ohio legislators got their eyes on it, as legislators are wont to do. And they changed the state aid to libraries law.

And state aid diminished year after year, despite howls from the library community. And budgets went down to the level that Ohio libraries were no longer fat with state money, since they had been wholly supported by state money. It had been cut by 50 percent.

So, what to do? Get local money through a local levy, that's what. Problem is, in most states local levies often fail, leaving libraries in dire straits. That is certainly the case in Michigan, where in some communities it's very difficult to pass a local library levy. People don't like to pay taxes, even library taxes. …

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