Monday, June 22, 2009

Save Ohio's libraries!

I hope that many of you have already heard about this, but if not, I need to let you know:

Governor Strickland has proposed cutting Ohio's library funding by 50%.

Fifty percent!?


That can't happen. Especially when we're talking about Ohio's library system.

Yes, most of us have this tendency to be down on Ohio. We rank #1 in poverty. The schools are failing. Our industry is dying. We all know the rap sheet of our home state by now.

But Ohio has the best libraries in the nation.

Let me repeat that for you.

Ohio has the BEST libraries in the entire United States of America.

The Columbus and Cuyahoga County systems consistently rank at #1 and #2 in the nation. And Ohio library systems land somewhere in the top 10 in every population category, according to the Hennen's American Public Library Ratings.

Ohio actually has something to point to, be proud of, and shout, "We're #1!"

And now they're talking about demolishing it.

We've grown accustomed to the high quality of selection and service we receive at our libraries here in Ohio, and as such, I think many of us tend to take it for granted. But I've heard from friends who moved to places like Nashville, Washington DC, California, and New York, and they've all told me how much they miss the Ohio libraries. They've had to resort to used bookstores and subscriptions to movie services because the selection just isn't there. It's cliche, but true: You don't know what you've got until it's gone.

Let's not take that chance to find out.

So please, take a few minutes, and write to your Ohio Senators and Representatives. This is a drastic reduction in funding that will obliterate programs that people rely on most during these "tough economic times"--services like career counseling, financial planning classes, computer training courses, free internet access. Not to mention free access to books, periodicals, films, and music.

To culturally starve our population by cutting library funding is not the way that we're going to recover from anything.

To find your Ohio Senator:

To find your Ohio Representative:


Geoffrey A. Landis said...

I love libraries, and in fact, I've lived other places, and it's right, the Cuyahoga County system really is a superb library system.

Cutting library funding can't possibly make much of an effect on the Ohio budget-- I doubt it's even enough to notice in the bottom line. So it's not going to help Ohio to cut the funding, but it definitely will harm us.

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

The thing is, library funding in our state is determined by a percentage of tax revenue. So as tax revenue has declined due to the economy, the libraries have ALREADY been receiving less funding than hoped for... And now, Strickland wants to reallocate 50% of what SHOULD be going to the libraries!

Tragic...just tragic....

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

(If you have a Twitter account, use the tag #saveohiolibraries

Let's make this a trending topic.)

lady said...

Thanks for bringing our attention to this issue.

There will be a rally tomorrow, downtown:


WHAT: Press conference and rally designed to demonstrate public outrage and opposition to Governor Strickland’s proposal to cut $227 million from the Public Library.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 24
10:30 – 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Steps of the Cleveland Public Library Main Building E. 6th and Superior in downtown Cleveland.

John B. Burroughs said...

Gov. Strickland responds to library outcry in new letter (June 26):

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

I'd like to know if our state politicians are also taking a paycut then, in solidarity with all the programs they're cutting.

Otherwise, they're a bunch of hypocrites...


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau