Worthington News

Libraries counting on Issue 53 passage


Worthington Libraries director Chuck Gibson said he is "guardedly optimistic" about the 2.2-mill replacement levy that voters will face on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Early and absentee voting began Oct. 1.

"I hope people will get out to vote for us," he said.

Issue 53 is a permanent levy that would replace a 2.2-mill, 22-year levy approved in 1992.

That levy is being collected at a reduced value of 1.25 mills, costing $111.46 a year for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

If the new levy is approved, that property owner will pay an additional $37.44 annually.

Issue 53 is on the ballot as a continuing levy, meaning it would not expire like the 1992 levy will.

Residents also fund the library via a 2.6-mill continuing levy approved in 2005.

The money from the replacement levy provides 22 percent of the library system's revenue, which was $10.3 million in 2012.

It is needed to fulfill the goals of the library's 2013-15 strategic plan, which includes maintaining current service levels, providing for growth in response to technological and societal change and expanding service to meet increasing demand.

In 2012, the Worthington Libraries circulated more than 3.3 million items, making it the ninth-highest circulating library in the state.

The library also offers access to computers, programs for all ages and an after-school homework help center at all three branches.

It also assists businesses through programs and access to market research databases, circulates e-books and provides materials to people who are not physically able to visit a library.