Large cuts proposed for Ohio libraries 6.24.09

Written by David Green.

Ohio librarians received the bad news Monday that proposed cuts in state funding threatens libraries throughout the state.

Governor Ted Strickland announced Friday that cuts to the state library fund that outpace relative reductions in other state programs.

Fayette’s Normal Memorial Library director Susan Stuckey urges patrons to contact their state representatives and the governor to express their opinion on the issue. E-mail message can be sent by looking for a link at the library’s website at

“We are going to be doing everything we can so this does not pass,” Stuckey said.

The governor is attempting to close a $3.2 billion cash shortfall by the end of the fiscal year next week by what he calls resizing state government in line with the shrinking economy.

According to an analysis by the Ohio Library Council, the cuts would reduce library funding by at least 47 percent in fiscal year 2010 and 45 percent in year 2011, compared to 2008 disbursement.

By contrast, state revenue will fall 18 percent and 16 percent in those two years.

The proposed reductions are expected to force the closure of many libraries in the state and bring severe cuts in services to many others. Libraries have already been forced to make cuts due to dwindling state funds.

The cuts are coming when libraries are facing unprecedented increases in the demand for services, according to Ohio Library Council (OLC).

“In every community throughout the state, Ohioans are turning to their public libraries for free high-speed internet to access information on employment opportunities,” said Mackenzie Betts of the OLC. “Children and teens are beginning summer reading programs and people of all ages are turning to the library for information and education.”

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    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
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    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
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    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
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    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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