Tri-Village News

Library levy represents needed 'chunk of change'

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Grandview Heights Public Library officials hope the library's status as a de facto community center and gathering place will convince residents to vote for its operating levy.

The library will seek passage Nov. 6 of Issue 49, a 2.5-mill replacement of the five-year levy passed in 2007.

"This levy represents 26 percent of the library's budget, so it's a big chunk of change the library really needs," said Michael Allardyce, who is serving as co-chairman of the library levy campaign committee with his wife, Susan.

"You can imagine if you lost 26 percent of your pay -- you'd have to change your lifestyle at home," he said.

The levy would allow the library to continue operating at current levels and avoid having to make additional reductions in staff, hours, programs and materials, Allardyce said.

"It's a replacement levy that keeps everything the same, not adding anything," he said.

If approved, the measure would generate about $732,000 a year and cost homeowners 38 cents more per month for each $100,000 of their homes' appraised values, Allardyce said.

The passage of the levy is particularly important given the reductions in state funding for libraries, he said.

The Grandview library is receiving 32 percent less money from the state than it did in 2001, Allardyce said.

"That's a loss of one of every three state dollars," he said. "The library gets the majority of its money -- 65 percent in 2007 -- from the state of Ohio."

In response to cuts in state funding, the library reduced hours and cut staff positions while managing its resources to avoid sacrificing services, Allardyce said.

"The thing that has impressed me about the library is that I have seen firsthand how (library Director) Mary Ludlum watches the spending," he said. "She really questions all expenditures and thinks through whether they will do anything new and what the value is to the community."

The library's participation in the Central Library Consortium gives its patrons access to materials from a number of libraries, Allardyce said. That access will grow even larger with the pending addition of the Columbus, Southwest and Worthington libraries to the consortium.

The value of the library to the Grandview and Marble Cliff communities is hard to overstate, he said.

"The library touches every single demographic" with programs and materials for all age groups, including story times, Music on the Lawn and the Music in the Atrium series, Allardyce said.

"You can come in and use their computers, use your laptop and use the Wi-Fi and digitally download books," he said. "We took a walk through the library recently and just observed. It was really neat to see all different age groups using the library in some fashion."

In essence, "the library serves as the community center for Grandview and Marble Cliff," Allardyce said.

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