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Published: Sunday, 8/3/2008

Way library in Perrysburg requests levy replacement

Failure to approve the levy would lead to cuts in library hours, staff, programs, and its budget for materials, Director Nancy Kelley says. Failure to approve the levy would lead to cuts in library hours, staff, programs, and its budget for materials, Director Nancy Kelley says.

The Way Public Library in Perrysburg is asking voters to support a levy so leaders can maintain the library's quality and allow it to grow, Director Nancy Kelley says.

The four-year, 1.5-mill replacement levy request on Tuesday's ballot would generate $840,000 annually, which is about $326,000 more than the current 1-mill operating levy yields. The existing tax expires at year's end.

Funds generated by the levy would allow the library to add a full-time librarian for the young adult department, which serves children ages 11 to 14, and a part-time clerk, Ms. Kelley said.

It would also be used to pay for increased utility costs, building maintenance, and books and materials, she said.

The 1.5-mill replacement levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $15 more a year, with the tax increasing to $46 from $31 annually.

The library has been promoting approval of the levy through brochures, yard signs, and phone calls to voters who use the library, Ms. Kelley said.

"We're reminding them to vote and hoping they'll support the library," she said.

In a time when state support for libraries continues to decrease, the money the levy would generate represents about 39 percent of the library's operating budget.

David Munger, president of the library's board of trustees, said decreases in funding is a statewide problem that puts the ball in a community's court to maintain the quality.

"Way library has always been very important to the community, and I think the expectations have always been high for the library," he said. "I think this needs to be passed to fulfill the community expectations."

Failure to approve the levy would lead to cuts to library hours, staff, programs, and the budget for materials, Ms. Kelley said.

The library, which has been a community staple on East Indiana Avenue for more than 100 years, has received recent accolades that include being named in 2006 the fourth best library of its size in the country by Hennen's American Public Library Ratings. Last year, Ms. Kelley was named Ohio Librarian of the Year by the Ohio Library Council.

Library officials had planned to go to the voters in March but were forced to drop the idea because the city sent a ballot with faulty language to the Wood County Board of Elections.

Perrysburg sent the ballot because it is the library's taxing authority. Only city residents pay the library levy.

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