Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday -The Save Ohio Libraries Edition

It’s Wednesday, which means I should do a Waiting on Wednesday.

I am waiting…to hear if libraries across Ohio will be forced to close. The outpouring of support from communities across the state gives me a little hope that the outcome will be a happier one.

Today – while working hard at figuring out our branch program offerings for this fall (so far 210 programs at 5 branches over 4 months…and it isn’t complete yet!), I have been posting links on Facebook. The links are mostly for news articles about what will happen to local libraries if this budget is passed. Over and over again, library directors and other administrators are saying the same two key words: Massive layoffs. Widespread closures.

Forty-some percent of Ohio libraries are lucky enough to have property tax incomes to supplement what they receive from the state budget. However, that does not mean they are safe. Quite the contrary. While my library has a levy, all it means is that perhaps Main could stay open with a reduced staff, but there would still be a layoff of around 50%. employees (This is my guesstimation from conversations with various library employees). This is in an area already heavily hit with high unemployment rates.

I’ll continue to wait this Wednesday for next Wednesday, for by then I will know more certainly if the library will be turning off the lights for the last time.

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