Frustrated librarians are asking voters for a little financial help as they deal with state budget cuts.
They are seeking renewal of a five-year 0.77-mill operating levy that’s been on the books since 2011, as well as an additional 0.48 mills as part of Issue 25 on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The increase would mean paying another $15.84 in taxes per year for every $100,000 worth of property you own in the Wellington school district boundaries. You already pay $23 per year on that rate, so it would up your annual library tax to $38.84 per $100,000 valuation.
If passed, the renewal and increase would generate about $284,000 for the library in 2017 that would be eligible for spending in 2018.
“Our first levy was back in 2007 and at that time we had begun losing funds with budget cuts,” said library director Janet Hollingsworth. “Since that time we have lost about $175,000. This is our first time asking for new money in 10 years.”
The Great Recession turned the original levy into a way of just breaking even. Herrick Memorial has since used cost-cutting measures such as reducing staff, cutting operating times, and installing energy efficient lighting and heating, said Hollingsworth.
“In all of these cuts they’re sometimes hurting the very people they’re trying to help,” she said of the state’s budget rollbacks. “When people apply for a Golden Buckeye card they don’t go to the Office on Aging or Social Security. They come to the library. We have the forms. We have to do that now because they’ve put it on us.”
She said the library has a total budget of $476,000 with $284,255 of that coming from the state level.
At the same time she has been wrestling with cuts, librarians have been doing more to help folks.
“More and more we’re finding out that we’re providing e-government services,” said Hollingsworth. “We’re helping people file their retirement and unemployment paperwork more than ever. Some coming in to file for unemployment haven’t had to do so in 20 years and have no PIN number.”
She said the levy helps to compensate for new and increased services but will also go toward maintaining existing services as well as the purchase of hands-on and digital materials.
Digital materials entail access to new databases such as keyboard tutorials, GED programs, and foreign language research ranging from elementary to college levels.
At a recent meeting, Wellington village council member Guy Wells called the library “one of the best bargains that we have.”
The library serves 9,458 residents in Wellington and Huntington Township and has 8,100 cardholders. Hollingsworth said above all else, she just wants to see residents get out to the polls.
“I know there are some people who don’t use the library,” she said. “But there are so many who use this library as their lifeline. No matter what, just go out and vote.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Herrick Memorial Library director Janet Hollingsworth says a 0.48-mill increase to the existing 0.77-mill levy has been necessitated by state cuts and an increase in services provided by the library.