At a special meeting of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board of Directors on Monday, June 23, Board President Jim Posch announced that the Library plans to seek a 2.2 mill operating levy on November 4. The continuous levy is new, and would amount to an additional $77 per year on a $100,000 home, or $6.42 a month.
“The last levy passed in 2008 and was only supposed to last five years but we implemented smart fiscal and operational measures to make it last seven years,” says Posch. “Passage of this new levy will ensure the long-term financial security of our neighborhood branches, and ensure that the library system can continue its level of superior service to our community.”
Roughly two-thirds of Heights Libraries’ funding comes from local property taxes; the other third comes from the State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund (PLF), which is currently at 1996 funding levels and is expected to continue to decease in 2015.
“Heights Libraries’ four branches circulate nearly 2 million items a year in a community of about 58,000,” says Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “That comes to roughly 32 items per person per year. When you consider that the cost of a new paperback book on Amazon is about $12, and a Netflix subscription is about $8 a month, the library saves residents quite a bit in entertainment costs alone.”
Levin also pointed out that in addition to items like books, DVDs, and streaming media, the library also offers free cultural programs, free computer classes, free access to high-speed Internet and computer workstations, free access to new technology like iPads, and free access to expensive online databases. It also provides outreach to homebound citizens and schools; serves as a gathering place for the community; and offers early literacy resources and expertise for parents and teachers.
“Our libraries support the economic, educational, and cultural vitality of our two cities,” says Posch. “This new levy will help ensure that our communities will continue to thrive.”