The Community Library in Sunbury, which serves the Big Walnut area, is on the ballot for the Nov. 5 election.
The 1-mill levy is a renewal, and the library states on a “Quick Facts” page on its website, “this is not a tax increase. Tax payers will not see any increase to their tax bill. For about $30 for every $100,000 of market value of property, the levy allows the library to continue growing with the community.”
A pie chart on the facts page shows the library receives 51% of its funding from the levy; 38% from the state; and just over 10% from grants and donations, and fees and fines.
In recent years, the Community Library has collaborated with the Consortium of Ohio Libraries. This gives residents access to more than 750,000 items, and allows the library to share costs. It has increased acquisitions by nearly 20%; and increased access to more than a million digital titles through the Ohio Digital Library, Hoopla and RBDigital. It also completed an addition that included larger meeting rooms, group study rooms, pickup lockers, and a drive-through pickup window. It has increased its public WiFi range. In addition, the library has increased non-traditional services, such as public notaries; tax preparation; and passport applications.
The library said it has “expanded programs and services for all ages, enhancing them to meet current demands, resulting in an 87% increase in attendance.” Those programs range from a “how to use your digital camera” class, to Tuesday Evening Knitters and a LEGO Club; to Tai Chi and Yoga. At 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, there will be a performance from the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. And at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 28, there will be an appearance from Ohio Village Muffins baseball players for “Stories from the Myers Inn.”
The library’s “Strategic Plan” mentions three key service areas:
• Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning
• Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing and Listening for Pleasure
• Visit a Comfortable Place: Physical and Virtual Spaces
Voters have supported the library in the past, with five-year levy passages in 2009 (3,967 for to 3,500 against); and a renewal in 2014 (4,561 to 2,499).
If the levy passes, the library states it will “adapt and enhance programs to meet the changing needs of the growing community,” which includes maintaining and increasing the availability of its collection, continuing its partnerships, evaluating its hours, and exploring new services.
If the levy were to fail, the library states it would have to eventually “cut staff, reduce hours, and eliminate programs. These difficult decisions would be made with community input.”
The Community Library is at 44 Burrer Drive. It is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday; and closed Sunday.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.