The committee working to pass the library levy on the March 6 ballot has taken its show on the road.

The committee working to pass the library levy on the March 6 ballot has taken its show on the road.

Issue 9 is a renewal, with no increase, of the Upper Arlington Public Library's 2-mill, five-year tax levy. Proceeds of the levy represented 54 percent of the $5.8 million in revenues the library received in 2010.

The levy committee has been conducting community presentations since the first of the year to raise awareness of Issue 9. Amy Sharpe, who chairs the committee, said the group has met with positive response to its community presentations, which have taken place at the MCL Cafeteria, Greensview Elementary, the UA Lutheran Church and the OSU golf course.

"We've had about 15 presentations so far, and have had a really great response," Sharpe said. "We haven't done this previously. I think that was the problem with our last bond levy: We didn't really communicate it very well. But this time we've done the groundwork."

The library levy expires in December. Currently, the 2-mill levy costs the owner of a $300,000 home in Upper Arlington $184 annually.

If the levy is approved, proceeds would be used to maintain current hours of operation and to continue core services, such as timely access to new books and videos, online research databases, and free educational programming, according to the information from the committee.

Sharpe said residents at the presentations have been particularly surprised to learn what UA residents pay for their library services compared to other central Ohio residents.

"People always suck in their breath when I walk them through the graphs," she said. "If we were part of the Columbus Metro system, they'd be paying more taxes, so we have quite a good value," she said. "We actually do a lot of combination work with other libraries as well. That's the name of the game in this, sharing services."

As an example to residents, Sharpe points out in her presentation that Columbus property owners pay at a rate of 2.8 mills to operate the Columbus Metropolitan Library, while Grandview property owners pay the highest rate in central Ohio at 4.53 mills.

"When we've shown the costs and differences that residents are paying for other libraries, they've been more than pleased. I think they understand that with state cuts, our local levy is even more important," Sharpe said. "As our operating budget goes down, we'll have to make some really hard decisions."

In recent years, the library has reduced its weekly operating hours, reduced staff by 20 percent and frozen employees' salaries since 2009 in order to deal with a $1.3-million loss in state funding since 2008.

Sharpe said the committee will continue delivering its message to community groups as the March 6 primary approaches. The next presentation will be during Progressive UA's regular meeting at 10 a.m. Feb. 4 in meeting room B of the library, 2800 Tremont Road. More information on upcoming presentations will be posted online at