The Stark County District Library will go to the voters this November to pass a 1.7 mill operating levy so the library can regain some of the amenities it lost through state budget cuts.
Here's how the levy breaks down: It's a 1-mill renewal levy and a 0.7-mill increase that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $52.10 a year.
Linda Dahl, public information manager at the Stark County District Library, said the local operating levy makes up 40 percent of the library's operating budget each year. The library and its 11 locations need the levy to pass in order to bring services and programming back up after the state reduced funding in 2009.
"With a 32 percent reduction (in state dollars), we had to do things like close a branch. We laid off staff. We froze positions. We reduced our materials budget. We postponed some maintenance," Dahl said.
"So what we intend to do with the (levy dollars) is to restore our materials budget to where it should be and restore our drive-up window service. We'll be making sure our technology is well maintained and is as good as we can provide."
Dahl said residents have been supportive of library issues in the past, and she's hoping they feel the same way when they head to the polls this November.
"In general, people believe that libraries are still a vital service, and we certainly believe that," she said.
The Stark County District Library — which has 158,000 card holders — provides several services, including access to computers and the Internet. In 2011, the public-access computers were used more than 325,000 times.
Dahl considers the levy a "very simple return on investment."
"For every dollar that we receive in taxes, we return $5 to the community in services," she said.
More library stats (from 2011):
- 3.5 million items circulated
- Bookmobiles made 1,514 visits, including 27 schools
- "Kid mobiles" serving K-preschool made 1,168 visits, including 94 schools
- 1.3 million people visited the library
- 22,500 downloads of library materials
- 8,200 public programs