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Your Community Library - 2019 Levy Information

When Andrew Carnegie gave Stark Library (then, Canton Public Library) the money to build a new library building in the early 1900s, he did so with one stipulation: Over the door the words “Open to All” would be imprinted. Many things have changed in the past century, but one thing will never change. All are welcome at Stark Library.

Open To All

In May, a levy will be on the ballot that will allow us to continue Andrew Carnegie’s legacy. This levy will increase the current Stark Library levy by about three cents per $100 assessed property value. For a family with a $100,000 home this would mean an additional $26.50 per year – or about the price of one new book.

A Better Library for just the price of a new book.


Library Funding

More than half of the Library’s funding comes from the current property tax levy, which expires at the end of 2019. The remaining funds come from the State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund, which has declined 17% over the last decade – with inflation, this equals a $2.87 Million decrease. Funds from the new levy will help bridge that gap.

Graph: Public Library fund is down 17% compared to 2008 while inflation is up 16.63%. This results in a 2.87 Million decrease in funding.

Issue 8 Ballot Language

"An additional tax for the benefit of the Stark County Library district for the purpose of current expenses at a rate not exceeding 2 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 20 cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 8 years, commencing in 2019, first due in calendar year 2020."

If the levy passes:

  • More children will be ready for school with our early literacy programs
  • More people can receive job and career assistance from our expert staff
  • More books, ebooks, and materials
  • Updated technology for expanded access
  • Aging buildings will have much-needed repair and maintenance
  • Stark Library spaces can be re-imagined for the needs of the 21st Century

If the levy fails:

  • Stark Library will lose more than half of its funding
  • Fewer children and families will benefit from Stark Library’s literacy program
  • Programs and services – including outreach and job assistance programs – will be cut
  • Required building maintenance and repairs will not be done
  • Reduction in library hours

What will be on the ballot in May?

A request will be on the May 7th ballot for a 2-Mill property tax levy for Stark County District Library.

Does the Library already have a tax levy?

Yes, the library currently has a 1.7 mill property tax levy which expires at the end of 2019.

What will happen to the current levy?

If the 2-Mill levy passes in May, the 1.7 mill levy will be eliminated.

Why is the library seeking this increased levy?

Because of the decrease in the Ohio Public Library fund, it is critical to obtain additional funding for Stark Library to continue to offer vital services to the community maintain and modernize facilities, enhance collections, and expand lifelong learning opportunities.

How will the levy impact me?

For owners of a $100,000 property, the levy would cost about an additional $26.50 per year.

How does the library plan to use these funds if the levy passes?

Funding from the levy is essential to keep our library performing at its current level. Passing this levy ensures that the library is able to continue its vital work in the community. Additionally, the reliable funding will enable the library to remain responsive to Stark County’s changing needs by expanding services, technology, collections, and programs events, and services that are experiencing growing demands.

What happens if the levy doesn’t pass?

Without the levy, Stark Library would lose more than half of its operating budget, resulting in major cuts to services, hours, books, other collections, and, potentially, loss of jobs.

Does this levy include all of Stark County?

No, this levy only supports those properties within the Stark Library district:

  • Canton City
  • Canton Local
  • Fairless Local
  • Lake Local
  • Jackson Local
  • Osnaburg Local
  • Plain Local
  • Perry Local
  • Sandy Valley Local
  • Southeast Local
  • Tuscarawas Valley Local
  • Tuslaw Local

In 2018...

People borrowed (and returned) almost 4,000,000 items

16,000 people received expert assistance from our library staff for job and technical assistance

Our bookmobile made more than 3,300 stops, visiting more than 100 schools and preschools every month

150,000 people attended library programs at 8,000 free events

Readers downloaded more than 425,000 Free eBooks

6,250 kids read for a total of 165,000 days in our Summer Reading program

Our mobile services made 1,250 visits to homebound individuals, delivering library materials

People used our free computers to access information— almost 200,000 sessions

Our SPARK program touched the lives of hundreds of children and their families

We are blessed with a great Library system - Mayor Tom Bernabei

Libraries are essential and we can't do without them - Commissioner Creighton

What would a community be without a Library? - Bette Farneth

Libraries are essential for our community - Tom Cecconi

*Canton Public Library photo by Brenda Gottsabend - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0