Home » About » About Issue 4

Support Your Library. Preserve Our Future.
Issue 4 Information

Portrait of Mary Ellen Icaza, CEO, welcoming you to the Library.

The Library is such a vital part of our community. When you think about it, the Library is like the community’s living room. A place where people and families go to learn, study, meet, and collaborate. Our neighborhood branches provide residents with safe and easy access to the Library’s services, materials, and technology in the communities where they live, work, and raise their families.

You may not know that more than half of Stark Library’s funding comes from our local property tax levy, which expires at the end of 2019. This fall, Issue 4 will be on the ballot which would extend the existing levy for eight years and increase it by about $29 a year for a home valued at $100,000. For about 55 cents a week, it's a great investment in our community!

The additional funding will allow the Library to sustain and enhance our current offerings, including books, databases, music, movies, eBooks and eMaterials, streaming content, and other new items, such as our popular Library of Things. In addition, levy funding will enable us to invest in our buildings for much-needed repairs and to update our facilities to create more dynamic, flexible spaces for meetings and events. Updated technology will allow us to increase free access to computers, internet, and other innovative technologies, providing communities with critical information access and bridging the digital divide.

Our Library supports our community in so many important ways. For example, our SPARK Parent Partner program impacts thousands of children in Stark County, helping to make sure they’re ready for school. Our bookmobile and mobile services team goes into the community and meets people where they are—providing library services to daycares, senior centers, schools, and homebound patrons—residents who may have no way to get to the library. Our expert trainers work with those in need of job assistance, enabling people to improve their job skills and career path.

In every corner of Stark County, the Library touches lives.

I am so proud of how Stark Library serves our community, and I know that Stark County is proud of our libraries, too. The successful passage of Issue 4 will allow us to respond to our community’s changing needs and ensure that we can continue this vital work.

Mary Ellen Icaza
Stark Library's CEO/Executive Director

Stark Library Provides Vital Community Services

Stark Library serves more than 240,000 residents of Stark County with nine neighborhood branch libraries and the Main Library downtown.
Our Mobile Services vehicles bring the Library to 220,000 visitors who otherwise might not have access to library services.
Last year Stark Library served nearly two million visitors, circulating almost four million items, including books, music, DVDs, ebooks, devices, and much more.
FREE access: Last year, more than 220,000 computer sessions were provided free of charge.
Learning Opportunities: Last year, more than 165,000 people attended more than 9,000 free programs.
Expert assistance: Last year, library experts provided one-on-one instruction to more than 15,000 people.

Passing the levy will ensure that Stark Library can continue to provide vital library services to the community.

Library Funding Sources

Library Funding

More than half of the Library’s funding comes from the current levy, which expires at the end of next year.

The remaining funds come from the State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund (PLF).

Ohio's PLF

Over the last decade, PLF funding has decreased more than 17%.

This decrease represents more than $2.8 Million each year.


Library revenue from the levy has not increased since the last levy was passed, in 2012.

Issue 4 Questions & Answers

What will be on the ballot in November?

A request will be on the ballot asking voters to approve issue 4, a 2.2 Mill, eight-year levy for Stark Library.

Does the Library already have a tax levy?

Yes, a current 1.7 Mill levy that expires at the end of 2019. The current levy will be discontinued once a new one is passed. Home owners will not be taxed twice.

Why is the Library seeking an increased levy?

Stark Library served more than 2 million visitors last year through branch locations, mobile services (the bookmobile) and online. In order to continue to serve the changing Stark County community needs, the Library must increase services and materials, invest in and maintain facilities, equip our buildings with the latest technology, and create more dynamic, flexible spaces.

The increased levy will provide financial stability for the library in the face of decreasing state funding.

How is the Library funded?

More than half of the Library’s funding comes from our local property tax levy. The remaining funds come from the State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund, which has decrease significantly (17%) over the last decade.

How much will Issue 4 cost home owners in Stark County?

An owner of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $29 per year.

Will Stark County Auditor’s recent (2018) tax valuation increase the amount of tax that a homeowner pays for the levy that is on the ballot?

No. Most levies on the ballot this fall, including Issue 4, are based on the old (2017) valuation, NOT the new 2018 property valuation.

Will Stark Library receive more money next year (2019) due to the auditor’s tax valuation?

No. By law, the actual dollar amount that the Library receives for the levy can never exceed the dollar amount calculated in the year when the levy is placed on the ballot.

When did the Library’s levy last increase?

The current levy was put in place in 2012. During that time, the Library’s funding from the Public Library Fund has decreased 17%, while the amount from the current levy has remained static. Taking inflation into account, that means that the Library’s funding has essentially decreased by $2.9 million per year. Passing Issue 4 will ensure that Stark Library continue to serve the Stark County community.

What happens if the levy passes?

A YES Vote Means:

  • Expansion of Library services for young children, students, seniors, small business owners, such as:
  • Increased access to free public-use computers, high speed internet, printing, wireless hotspots, and other innovative technologies for those without the resources at home.
  • Increased investment in Library materials including physical and digital books, movies and music, the library of things, online instruction for every age, research tools, and informational databases to meet the demands of growing communities.
  • Extended maintenance on buildings and facilities that has been deferred due to budgetary constraints.
  • Space updates and improvements to equip our facilities with the latest technology and to adapt our Library spaces to meet the changing needs of our community.

What happens if the levy fails?

Without the passage of a levy, Stark Library would lose more than half of its operating budget, and would have to make major cuts in services, technologies, and collections.

A NO Vote Means:

  • Aging Library buildings will see maintenance minimized to basic repairs.
  • Renovations and expansion would be severely limited or even eliminated.
  • Possible reductions in hours of operation, and staff at Library branches.
  • Decreased Library outreach and partnership development, and a phase out of many services for adults, teens, and small businesses.
  • A reduction in the current investment in online and in-branch resources such as physical and digital books, movies, music, magazines, online instruction, research tools, and informational databases.