If you’re a long time reader of this column, I’m sure there is much you already know about the Delaware County District Library. We serve the greater Delaware County area, including more than 125,000 people in the Delaware City, Olentangy and Buckeye Valley school districts.
We have fun and unique items that we lend including video games, board games, and mobile hotspots. Our electronic collection of books, audiobooks, and magazines just grew to include music and movies with the addition of the hoopla digital service. That’s all just the tip of the iceberg.
However, one thing that I don’t talk about frequently is how the Delaware County District Library is funded. As I mentioned earlier, our service area covers three school districts, and for households in those districts we collect a property tax that funds 59 percent of our annual operations.
Another 4 percent comes from grants, interest and other sources. The remaining 37 percent is especially relevant today. That portion comes from the State of Ohio through a funding channel called the Public Library Fund (PLF).
Each year, when the governor introduces his budget proposal, a portion of public library funding is closely considered by the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate before the entire budget bill passes and is put into effect on June 30. As introduced this year, the budget proposal reduced the PLF from 1.7 percent of the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF) to 1.66 percent of the GRF.
While a .04 percent decrease may not seem substantial, in terms of state dollars it amounts to about $7.7 million. Last month, representatives from DCDL met with state legislators to ask that state funding for public libraries be maintained at 1.7% of the GRF, funding not be cut, and to hold public libraries harmless from any additional unintended reductions.
A few weeks ago, the Ohio House passed its version of the bill and, unfortunately, library funding was not restored to the current levels and remains at the 1.66 percent proposal. State funding for Ohio’s public libraries through the PLF is essential to the delivery of service to Ohioans.
The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration and DCDL is asking for your voice. If you have a story about how the public library has affected your life, would you consider sending an email or letter to your state Senator asking for public library support? Find your Senator using the tools at www.ohiosenate.gov and use the contact form to email, call or send a letter to the office.
Ohio’s public libraries have the highest use per capita in the entire nation. We are also incredible stewards of taxpayer dollars. For every $1 spent by Ohio’s public libraries, more than $5 in economic value is returned to Ohioans.
Help DCDL maintain the programs, services and value you’ve come to expect from it and ask your State Senator to protect the PLF in the budget.
Every day DCDL sees more than 1,500 people come through our doors. Last summer, we helped more than 7,000 children maintain their reading levels with the summer reading program.
This week almost 500 people will access wireless internet at a DCDL location for work, job searching, or other needs. DCDL does not exist without our amazing patrons. Tell your story and show the value of what DCDL means to you.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!