Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board special meeting highlights 6-23-2014
SPECIAL MEETING - JUNE 23, 2014
Board Member Jeffrey Eummer was present by phone.
Levy to be on November ballot
Director Nancy Levin's presentation highlighted features of the library, including its governance by a seven-member board of trustees appointed by the school board. She addressed the issue of library consolidation by pointing out that the library’s response is to be a longtime member of CLEVNET, a system linking 44 libraries in 12 counties. Levin also summarized the library’s strengths:
- The library was rated a Library Journal Index Five Star Library, the highest rating, for five out of six years, the top three percent of libraries nationwide.
- The library was one of the five percent of Ohio governmental offices to receive the Ohio Auditor of State Award of Distinction for 2012, with assurance that it is on track for the same designation in 2013, an indication of financial responsibility.
- The library receives 50,000 phone calls a year, has 1 million visitors, and is physically open 72.5 hours per week while being available online 24/7.
- The library partners with more than 50 local organizations in programming.
- The library has a summer lunch program and provides after school snacks.
Levin summarized the library’s sources of funding: two-thirds comes from property taxes, one-third from the Ohio State Public Library Fund (PLF), and less than one percent from fines, fees and grants.
Of concern is the continuing erosion of the PLF. Levin expects that eventually it will no longer exist. It currently funds Ohio’s libraries at the level of their state funding in 1996.
A levy in 2014 will continue to support four buildings, possibly enable the return of hours, and will last at least five years, hopefully more. Timing of the levy was also discussed, with consensus that the November 2014 election would enable smaller election costs to the library as well as prevent [it] being on the ballot with a possible school levy.
As Ohio’s library levies are capped at 10 mills, the choice would be between 1.9 mills, the rate sought in the last library levy campaign or 2.2 mills that would reach the 10-mill cap. The conclusion was to ask for 2.2 mils, and all six members present voted yes. As the board’s bylaws don’t allow phone votes, Board Member Jeffrey Eummer, who supported the measure and was present by phone, was unable to vote.
LWV Observer: Anne S. McFarland.
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These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.