Voters Say No to Issue 4
November 7, 2018 (Canton, Ohio) – Issue 4, an eight year 2.2-mill levy projected to provide more than half of the library’s operating budget, was rejected by voters on Tuesday night.
“We are disappointed that our proposal wasn’t met with the level of support from our community that we’d hoped for,” said Mary Ellen Icaza, CEO/Executive Director. “We’ve always believed that strong libraries make strong communities and will continue do our best to determine what Stark County residents want from their library system.”
The 1.7 mil levy currently in place provides more than half of the library’s operating budget, but it is set to expire at the end of 2019. Most of the Library’s remaining revenue comes from the State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund (PLF), which has decreased by more than 17% in recent years.
Without a new levy, Stark Library will lose more than half of its operating budget, and likely be forced to make major cuts in services, technologies, and collections. As our community has changed, so have their needs from our library. We’ve responded by providing expanded services such as electronic materials, expanded partnerships with schools, early literacy skills training, workforce development, and digital resources. Unfortunately, without a new levy, these services are at risk. The levy would also have provided the funds to invest in its branches by completing much-needed repairs and updates to create more dynamic and flexible spaces.
“I’d like to thank Tom Cecconi and the “Vote Libraries” campaign volunteers for their tireless work and advocacy on our behalf,” Icaza continued. “We will be reaching out to local stakeholders and community members to understand why the community did not support our plan this time around, so that we can gain their support to pass a levy next year.”
ABOUT THE LIBRARY
A 2009 winner of the prestigious National Medal for library service, the Library serves more than 240,000 residents, annually circulating nearly 4 million items from its 1.5 million item collection and providing access to an additional 66 million items from lending networks throughout Ohio. Each year the library presents more than 9,000 programs for 166,000 attendees and provides 220,000 computer sessions on the publicly available computers found in each branch. In 2017, Stark Library served nearly 2 million visitors at all locations and online.
Today, as it reimagines itself as The SmartStore, where everything is free®, the Library is emerging as a national thought-leader with innovations such as its “no overdue fines” policy, the BikeSmart bike sharing network, passport services and the StartSmart School Partnership.
For locations, hours or more information visit StarkLibrary.org or call 330.452.0665.
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