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Published: Wednesday, 7/24/2002

Ohio budget cuts dent library programs

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

State budget cuts have led Swanton Public Library to reduce the hours of three of its 10 employees and Archbold Community Library to decrease its spending on materials.

“We're trying to put off purchases we would like but really don't need,” Archbold library director Joyce Klingelsmith said.

Ohio's Library and Local Government Support Fund, which provides most of local libraries funding, has about 8 percent less for libraries across the state this year than last year. The cut, linked to state tax revenues, comes after years of annual 5 to 6 percent increases.

For Archbold, it's a cut of about $25,000. The state fund, which last year gave it about $309,000, provides about 80 percent of its library's operating budget.

To cope, the library board decided this month to reduce its materials budget by $6,000. Swanton library has cut materials as well as labor hours, a move it made earlier in the year when such reductions from the state seemed certain, clerk-treasurer Rita Bayer said.

Evergreen Community Library will wait longer to replace books with worn covers and will not purchase reference materials containing information that can be found on the Internet, director Jane Dominique said. “I'm just going to watch my book buying,” she said. “I'm probably going to be really scrutinizing.”

Wauseon Public Library Director Jody Pershing said she does not expect to make cuts this year because of state funding that is expected to be $31,000 less than last year. But if cuts are necessary later she will likely recommend eliminating Sunday hours.

“I don't think that would hurt the public as much as cutting an evening or Saturday,” she said. The library is open on Sundays from the beginning of October to the end of April.

Wauseon library received almost $385,000 from the state last year, the most of any of Fulton County's six libraries.

Delta, which received $324,000 last year, second highest amount in the county, does not anticipate cuts. It receives more money from local taxpayers than most county libraries, most of which do not have a local levy. Taxpayers in the Pike-Delta-York school district with a $100,000 home are billed $25.77 a year on a 1-mill levy that expires at the end of 2003.

Archbold has a 0.4-mill levy that expires at the end of 2004. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $9.22 a year.

Delta library is asking voters for a new 1.79-mill, 25-year issue on the November ballot. Library director Patricia Grover has said the levy would generate $3.4 million over 25 years that would be used to construct and furnish a 20,000-square-foot library on Taylor Street between the village park and the junior high school.

Clerk-treasurer Sandy McCullough said the library has been spending conservatively partly because librarians feel they have no room to store new materials or hold more programs. The cut won't mean a big reduction for them, she said.

Normal Memorial Library in Fayette does not plan cuts, although almost all of its funding comes from the state, director Verna Williams said.



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