The resolution will then be submitted to the Scioto County Board of Elections, “which will be taking steps to put a 1-mill levy for five years on the November ballot,” Portsmouth Public Library Board Chairman Kara Tieman said. “It is definitely based on need because (as a result of) the state budget cuts last summer, we lost a big chunk of our budget at that point. We ended up cutting staff. We had materials cut. We had services cut. This is basically not even going to put us back to where we were at that point.”
Tieman said the library is also facing cuts in its future funding based on what they are expecting to receive in the next two years.
“We’re going to be getting probably 10 to 20 percent more additional cuts,” Tieman said.
Tieman said the board has never asked for an additional levy since it began operating the library.
“If you look around the state, several libraries have been put in this position to go to their counties and say, ‘if you want to continue the services that we offer, and to be able to use the library services, this is what it has come to,’” Tieman said. “This is basically to be able to maintain our staff, services, materials and equipment.”
Tieman said the board has made all of the cuts it can make to this point, and the levy is essential to continue services.
“We have cut hours at the different branches. We had a reduction in staff last summer. So if we don’t get the levy it’s really going to be hard to maintain,” Tieman said. “Our board of trustees has taken a very close look at this, along with our director and our clerk-treasurer and we feel very fortunate that we have people who have really put in time and effort to make sure that we have looked at every possible aspect of how to cut, how to maintain what we have, not be frivolous, and still provide the services that our patrons depend on and need.”
Tieman said the Summer Reading program for area children is going on now.
“The kids absolutely love it. And there’s all kinds of activities at all the different branches,” Tieman said.
Hundreds of demonstrators stood outside Portsmouth Public Library in mid-June waving signs and shouting at passing motorists in protest of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s proposed budget cuts.
The week before, Strickland announced his proposal to amend a $3.2 billion state budget deficit. Among his recommendations was a $200 million cut in funding for Ohio libraries.
Beverly Cain, who was, at the time, director of the Portsmouth Public Library, said libraries all over the state were holding similar rallies to protest the governor’s proposal.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.