Grandview Heights Public Library will have to make "devastating" reductions in its hours and services if Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal to further cut state funding for libraries goes into effect, according to library director Mary Ludlum.

Grandview Heights Public Library will have to make "devastating" reductions in its hours and services if Gov. Ted Strickland's proposal to further cut state funding for libraries goes into effect, according to library director Mary Ludlum.

During a news conference last Friday, Strickland proposed cutting state funding another 30 percent on top of the 20 percent reduction that has already been made.

If the additional cuts go through, Grandview would receive an $855,000 reduction per year in state revenue, Ludlum said.

"It truly would have a devastating impact on our operations," she said. "It's too soon to tell what the exact cuts would be, but it would mean cutting hours and days of operation, reducing materials, cutting programs and cutting staff."

The governor proposed the additional library funding cuts as part of his plan to make up the $3.2-billion gap in the state budget that must be balanced by the Ohio General Assembly's conference committee by June 30.

Libraries would have to start making cuts immediately on July 1 if the budget reduction is enacted, Ludlum said.

The funding crisis would be unprecedented for Ohio's libraries, she said.

Although a Grandview library board of trustees meeting has not been scheduled, one would likely be called if the cuts go through, Ludlum said. The board would make the final decisions on the cuts in hours, days of operation, staff and services that would have to be made, she said.

Earlier this month, the library announced a number of actions to help make up the state funding cuts already announced.

Those actions included increasing overdue fines and fees for making copies and computer printouts, contracting with a collection agency to assist in recovering fines and non-returned materials and asking groups that use library meeting rooms for a donation.

The library had also opted not to fill two vacant positions and cut expenditures for printing, supplies, speakers, online resources and training to create more savings.

In 2008, the library's operating budget totaled about $2.79-million, Ludlum said.

The library received about $1.7-million in state funding, she said.

The library has two levies, a 2.2-mill permanent levy and a five-year 2.5-mill replacement levy that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008, Ludlum said. Together those two levies provided about $962,500 in revenue in 2008.

"We couldn't make up the lost revenue by passing another levy," she said. "It would have to be so large, it just wouldn't be realistic."

As bleak as the funding situation looks for the Grandview library, it at least has an operating levy, Ludlum said.

About 70 percent of Ohio libraries rely solely on state funding to pay for their operations, she said.

"Many of those libraries would have to close" if Strickland's plan goes through, Ludlum said.

Strickland's announcement on Friday "came out of the blue. We had no idea it was coming," she said.

Ohio's libraries have quickly responded with a "Save Ohio Libraries" campaign, Ludlum said.

"It's a call for action," she said. "We're asking our patrons to contact the governor's office and their state representative and state senator about this issue."

More information about the funding issue and contact information for state officials is available at the library's Web site, www.ghpl.org, Ludlum said.

"We know everybody's hurting these days and we've already taken some cuts," she said. "If these additional cuts are put in place, the role libraries have to help people in these tough economic times would be devastated."

afroman@thisweeknews.com