The library’s current operating levy is expiring. Levy support is a supplement to state funding and ensures valuable services remain available to the community. On November 2, 2021 the Library will have a levy renewal on the ballot. This 5-year renewal is for current operating expenses of the library.
Q: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LEVY RENEWAL?
The state has cut funding for the St. Clairsville Public Library by 24% since 2001, challenging the library’s ability to maintain library resources, facilities, programs and services.
Q: HOW IS THE LIBRARY FUNDED?
Most of your library’s funding is provided by a portion of state revenues. The state has cut library funding 24% since 2001. In 2017 voters approved local funding of their library. St. Clairsville Public Library became one of the 80% of all Ohio public libraries supported by a local levy for current expenses.
Q: HOW MUCH WILL THE LEVY RENEWAL COST?
The levy renewal remains at the 2017 rate. It still costs $1.46 a month (or $17.50 a year) for the owner of a $100,000 home. In Belmont County, the taxable value is 35% of market value. You can look up the taxable value of your home and confirm your school district at the Belmont County Auditor website. To find the library levy rate for homes of differing taxable values, see the rate sheet.
Q: WHO GETS TO VOTE ON THE LEVY RENEWAL?
Residents of the library’s legal service area, the St. Clairsville-Richland School District, will see this renewal on the ballot. Other libraries in the county plan to have a levy on ballots in their service areas, but this is the only library levy renewal that you will see on your ballot and this levy is the only one that will be used to support your local library.
Q: WHEN DOES VOTING TAKE PLACE?
- November 2 – vote at the polls
- October 5 – early voting begins at the Board of Elections office
- October 5 – vote by mail begins
If you want to check whether you are registered to vote, stop by any library or check your status on the library Voter Information page.
Q: WHAT STEPS DID THE LIBRARY TAKE TO REDUCE ITS EXPENSES?
The St. Clairsville Public Library has done extraordinary work in reducing expenses. Despite rising costs in every area, we spent less in 2017 than in 2001 for library programs, books, wages & benefits, technology and facilities. We reduced staffing from 11 full-time employees in 2001 to 5 full-time employees. In 2001 the library spent $92,611 on books and materials and only $25,761 in 2017.
The Library Budget – 2001 vs. 2017
|Books & Materials||92,611||25,761||-72%|
|Staff Wages & Benefits||369,754||357,288||-3%|
Q: WHAT HAS THE LIBRARY DONE WITH THE LEVY FUNDING?
Since 2017, the levy funds support core library operations, including:
- Increased material acquisitions, ensuring patrons have timely access to popular titles and relevant resources.
- Maintained programs and services for all ages and enhance them to meet growing community demands.
- Expanded electronic resources and downloadable media to keep the collection evolving with changing needs.
- Upgraded existing technology and increase access to public computing.
- Provided on-going maintenance of the facility and property.
Use of funds in the first 4 years included repairs/updates to heating and air conditioning systems; replaced a leaking roof, repairing falling paint/plaster in the lobby; converting existing light fixtures to cost-saving LED; moving Children’s shelving so there’s more space for storytimes and class visits; adding lobby shelving to hold new books right where you enter; completing maintenance and painting of parking spaces, upgrading computer networks and installing the latest Windows, Office, and security software; adding WiFi hotspots for patrons to borrow; upgrading the copier to support printing from mobile devices; doubling our budget for books, videos, and audiobooks; offering downloadable ebooks and movies; reducing late fees; making faxes free to send/receive; opening earlier to offer more access to the library; purchasing COVID supplies; providing 24/7 curbside lockers.
Q: WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE LIBRARY LEVY FAILS?
- Possible reductions in hours of operation, staff, and computers.
- Decreased library outreach and phase-out of some services for adults and children.
- The aging library building will see maintenance minimized to basic repairs.
- Collection purchases limited to the most popular bestsellers, fewer downloadable items.
Q: DOES THE LIBRARY ENGAGE IN FUNDRAISING TO HELP LEVERAGE TAX DOLLARS?
The Library is fortunate to receive donations from individuals, Friends of the Library, and Foundation. However, these funds average only 1% of total funding for library operations. The Library frequently receives grants, but these are not awarded to cover operating expenses.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE LIBRARY FOUNDATION?
In 2003, St. Clairsville Public Library was fortunate to have a group of citizens establish the St. Clairsville Public Library Foundation. This endowment fund is a part of the Ohio Valley Community Foundation, and is designed to provide future financial assistance to the library, with a special focus on library facilities and capital improvements. The library may request Foundation funds only when costly capital improvements and repairs are needed. For example, in 2014 the Foundation provided funds to help replace the library roof.
Q: HOW BUSY IS THE LIBRARY?
Our library is in high demand. We’re one of the busiest organizations in the area – we have 75,000 visits in a typical a year. When people visit us they are actively using all of our services – getting help with research, employment and technology questions typically 3,000 times a year. Using internet and computers 22,000 times a year. Adults attend our many programs – book clubs, crafts, technology – typically 2,000 adult attendees a year. And people are still borrowing and reading books – 70,000 a year!
Q: WHAT IS THE ACTUAL VALUE OF LIBRARY SERVICES?
For every $1.00 spent by your library, your community receives $3.90 in direct benefits. The library allows users to save money by borrowing items and receiving services such as computer help that people would otherwise have to pay for. This means that the library enhances the purchasing power of users by enabling them to spend their money in other ways.