Ohio Senate spares libraries further cuts

Contact: Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications,

ALA Public Information Office

(312) 280-1546



For Immediate Release,

June 30, 2009

CHICAGO – The Ohio Senate has decided for the time being to remove the state’s libraries from the chopping block.

The Senate passed a continuing resolution and approved an interim budget, delaying until July 7 its decision on how to plug a $3.2-billion gap in its $54-billion budget. The measure, which is expected to pass the House, would fund state programs at only 70 percent of their current level. It would also authorize the governor to dip into rainy-day funds to balance the budget. However, no cuts would apply to the Public Library Fund. Library funding would remain unchanged in the interim budget.

To learn more about the current situation, visit the Ohio Library Council’s Web site,

Last week, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland proposed a 30-percent reduction in library funding,
http://www.governor.ohio.gov/LibraryLetter/tabid/1108/Default.aspx. Coupled with a recent 20-percent cut in tax revenue, the reduction would have meant slashing public library funding in half,

Strickland’s proposal provoked a quick and strong response from the Ohio Library Council (OLC),
http://www.olc.org/pdf/OLCResponseStricklandLtr062609.pdf, and American Library Association President Jim Rettig,
http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2009/june2009/ohiostatement_pio.cfm, who said, A projected 50 percent reduction in funding for Ohio’s libraries would result in unprecedented national disaster. “We understand that in a recession difficult choices must be made, but libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically, and are a necessity in efforts to get Americans back on their feet.”

The OLC said in a statement that it “is working very closely with the legislature and the Governor's office on the library funding issue. Depending on the progress of the budget negotiations, libraries may need to re-energize their efforts to mobilize patrons.”