The new director of the Marysville Public Library has a big task on his to-do list: Pass a levy.
The library is seeking voter approval Nov. 5 of a 1.5-mill levy.
Randy Matlow said with only two weeks under his belt as director, it appears the library’s operating budget is very tight.
“The library is really careful about how it spends its funds and tries hard to get the best value for each expenditure,” he said. “We have enough funds to operate, but not much in contingency funds for emergencies or to cover the increasing costs of doing business.”
The levy will replace the current 1-mill library levy that began in 2004 and was replaced in November 2008.
The current five-year levy expires Dec. 31, but the funds will actually be paid through the end of 2013, according to Denise Birkhoff, head of Patron Services for Marysville Public Library.
The existing levy currently is being collected at a rate of 0.983 mills, which costs $34.44 a year for each $100,000 of home valuation. The new replacement levy would increase the annual collection to $52.50 a year per $100,000 of valuation.
The levy provides 54 percent of the library’s funding. The state provides for close to 40 percent of library funds.
“The other 6 percent comes from grants, investments, fines, donations,” Birkhoff said.
While there are several services Matlow would like to add, he said the biggest need is to restore Sunday hours which were cut several years ago when state support for libraries was reduced.
“In the library I came from in Kentucky, Sunday was one of the busiest days of the week,” he said. “Students used it and it was a great day for families to come out together to the library.
“Many people are so heavily booked during the week that is it hard for them to get into the library during the day or evenings.”
Matlow said the public library in Bullitt County, Ky., where he worked before coming to Marysville, had a per-capita income of $70.55.
“By comparison, the Marysville Public Library for the last fiscal year had a per-capita income of $49.84. This gives you some idea of how tight our budget is here,” he said.
He pointed out that according to state library statistics, the average per-capita income for a library in Ohio is $63.09.
“A 1.5-mill levy does not give the library much additional funds for starting lots of new projects. It does allow us to maintain our existing programs and make small improvements,” Matlow said. “We face an increasing demand for digital-format materials, such as e-books, e-audio books and e-magazines.”
Matlow said most of the rest of the additional funds generated by the proposed levy would help complete maintenance projects and needed equipment upgrades.
“I am interested in expanding the types and number of programs the library offers, especially for teens,” he said. “Hopefully, we will be able to make some additions in these areas and other areas as well.”
The Support Your Library Levy Committee will host a public forum about the November ballot issue at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Meeting Room A at the main library.