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Library levies in Perrysburg, Archbold win

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Linda Henry of Troy Township looks for children's books at the Way Public Library with her son, Drew, 7.

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Perrysburg and Archbold residents yesterday voted to put library tax levies on the books.

Voters approved the first operating levy request in the 113-year history of Perrysburg s Way Public Library. The $475,000 annual funding boost will allow librarians to reopen on Sunday afternoons, buy more books, CDs, and DVDs, and add programs and free computer classes.

“We re just overjoyed. I think people voted with their hearts,” library director Nancy Kelley said. “In September, we ll reopen on Sundays.”

The Archbold Community Library will get more money thanks to voter approval of a 0.4-mill, five-year replacement operating levy that will raise more than $97,000 a year. Archbold residents will pay about $12 annually on a $100,000 home for the replacement levy.

The measure will generate about $20,000 more each year than the Archbold Community Library had been receiving in tax dollars.

The 1-mill levy in Perrysburg will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $31 each year in additional taxes.

Way Public Library cut its Sunday hours in 2002 and has made other service cuts as a result of decreased state funding, officials said.

“Now that the levy passed, we re going to start studying our meeting room policy right away to see how many nonprofit groups we can let use the rooms for free,” Mrs. Kelley said. “We had been charging.”

Libraries all over the state have cut their budgets to cope with stagnant or decreasing state funding. Ohio s 251 public libraries have not had a state funding increase since 2001.

Yesterday, 15 Ohio library systems had levy requests on the ballot - double the usual number in one election, the Ohio Library Council said.

In Perrysburg, the Way Public Library gets about 92 percent of its $1.4 million annual operating budget from the state. To keep costs down, the library has had a hiring freeze and relied on volunteers, officials said. The library also stopped buying new materials.

Blade staff writer Jane Schmucker and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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