With state funding of libraries dropping, the board of directors of the London Public Library hope voters will pick up some of the difference.
Library director Mike Hensel said Wednesday along with the drop in state funding, expenses are rising.
But that financial situation is not the primary reason for asking voters to approve a levy in November, which will include not only the 1.2 mill renewal, but also a .3 mill increase.
The London City School Board of Education showed its support for the library by passing a resolution Tuesday to place its local operating levy on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Library funding has been stagnant for years, said Hensel. He said the level of funding for 2014 was the same as it was in 1996.
“We’ve always been very conservative on spending and getting by, but at some point you need to move forward and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Hensel stated in a release.
The library’s request for additional millage (.3 mills) will provide it an estimated $96,099 in additional dollars. With those dollars the library plans to restore programs and services which were cut during the recession of 2008. The library also wants to add some new ones.
“We spent the first six months of this year putting together a strategic plan that we believe will strengthen our services in the community, as well as expand them,” Hensel said.
The library wants to bring back Sunday hours and longer hours during the fall. The staff will also look into increasing programming for youth and adults and add more digital services, such as movie streaming and an e-content called Hoopla.
Other proposed initiatives include more involvement with early literacy, at-risk students and adult education through the library’s materials and services.
The additional funds will also be used to make sure that the library stays operating at its current state.
“Since the recession, we lost $107,000 to $136,000 annually in state funds,” Hensel said.
The library anticipates additional losses this year, when the state completely phases out the reimbursement of Tangible Personal Property taxes, and cuts more income taxes, which support the Public Library Fund.
Currently, London City Schools property owners pay $35 to $39 per $100,000 evaluation to the library’s levy. The increase of .3 mills will equate to an additional $10 per $100,000 evaluation.
“We want to keep the millage as low as possible and still have the opportunity to bring new services to London,” said Hensel.
The library also opted to renew its current levy instead of going for a replacement so that homeowners would continue to receive the 10 percent and 2.2 percent rollback on the renewed portion of their property taxes.
“We look forward to sharing our vision to keep the library vibrant in programs, services and materials,” said Hensel.
The library will finalize its strategic plan in the coming months and publish it via the internet at www.mylondonlibrary.org.
For questions about the library or its current or proposed levy, you may contact Hensel at 740-852-9543 or email@example.com
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.
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