In a situation that is, sadly, not unique to Ohio, the proposed state budget contains a slash to funding for public libraries. On page B-8 of “The Jobs Budget: Transforming Ohio for Growth” Book One: The Budget Book is this proposal for funding to the Public Library Fund:
“The Executive Budget proposes a change in how funds are directed to the Public Library Fund. By statute, the Public Library Fund (PLF) is currently supposed to receive 2.22 percent of GRF tax revenues beginning in fiscal year 2012. Temporary law has restricted the PLF to receiving 1.97 percent in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The Executive Budget proposes a change to the distribution of these funds whereby starting in August 2011, the PLF will receive 95.0 percent of the fiscal year 2011 deposits. This proposal would result in an additional $68.5 million and $95.0 million deposited into the GRF in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, respectively.”
That a 5% cut on top of the cut public libraries have already taken.
Note how the last sentence is phrased: “This proposal would result in an additional $68.5 million and $95.0 million deposited into the GRF (General Revenue Fund) in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, respectively.” That $163.5 million that is not going to Ohio’s public libraries.
Note: the budget book linked to above is a 15 Mb PDF.
Governor Ted Strickland’s proposed state budget includes a nearly 50% cut in the state’s Public Library Fund. This will be devastating to all public libraries, especially to the approximately two-thirds of public libraries that don’t receive local funding.
In such difficult economic times, public libraries play an increasingly important role in society. They provide vital Internet access. (Think of how many employers today require applicants to fill out online applications.) They assist students. They provide education, such as computer training. Without these services, those who are unemployed or disadvantaged are going to find it even more difficult to get ahead.
There will be a rally at the Statehouse tomorrow (June 25) at 11:30am. Attendees are urged to wear RED and bring their library cards. Signs are encouraged, but please do not place them on sticks or poles.
More information on the proposed budget cuts can be found at the Ohio Library Council website.
There is a Save Ohio’s Libraries group on Facebook.
I hope to see you at the Statehouse tomorrow!
The Columbus Dispatch today has a story (front page of the local section, above the fold) about yet more cuts at the Ohio Historical Society.
“The latest round of budget reductions ordered by Gov. Ted Strickland to make up a $1.2 billion state budget shortfall resulted in the loss of $1.2 million for the society. In the past seven years, the agency has lost 40 percent of its state funding. [the emphasis is mine — ajc]
“In response, the society announced yesterday that from March 28 to April 3 next year it will close all its sites and furlough employees.”
Don’t misunderstand — I’m not upset with OHS. They can only work with what they’ve got. The whole situation is a pathetic, sickening state of affairs. Artifacts and records are deteriorating. They’re down to 1/2 of 1 full-time equivalent to keep track of incoming records. Bill Laidlaw, OHS executive director and chief executive officer, estimates that they’ve lost “about a decade’s worth of agency records.” (Keep in mind that OHS serves at the State Archives for Ohio.)
You can read the entire article at:
If that link doesn’t work, try http://tinyurl.com/5zsw37