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LIBERTY Cut in funding would shrink library



Published: Sat, June 23, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A trustee wants to make sure the new branch is the proposed size.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- Concerned that funding for a new library branch may be reduced, township Trustee Patricia Metzinger will begin a fund-raising effort next week.

"Who can say no to reading?" Metzinger asked.

"It's important to cultivate a love of reading."

In October, the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library announced it expected to break ground in about two years for a new Liberty branch.

Plans: The $1 million to $1.25 million facility would be built on a 1.86-acre former student parking lot at the old Liberty High School. The library board bought the lot from the school district for $65,000.

The new building would replace a store-front branch that opened in Liberty Plaza in November 1998.

The plaza branch lacks public restrooms and office space, trustees say. The proposed branch would be about three times larger.

Metzinger explained that with Gov. Bob Taft's initiative to cut library funding, the new branch would have to be downsized from the planned 8,000 to 10,000 square feet to 6,000 or 7,000.

About 1,000 square feet of space has been promised to Liberty Historical Society.

Compensating: To make up whatever state funding is lost and keep the facility at the larger size, Metzinger is sending letters to community leaders and those who have indicated they want to get involved in an effort to raise $350,000 to $500,000.

Metzinger said that when the library board meets July 10, she wants to be able to demonstrate that the community is willing to support the original proposal.

Robert Briell, library director, said Metzinger's campaign is premature.

Briell said Taft has a plan before the Ohio Supreme Court, which has ordered the state to revise its system of funding public education.

Taft's plan would cut 10 percent from library funding over two years and transfer the money to education, but the court has taken no action on it.

The library receives 75 percent of its budget from the state income tax revenue. If Taft's proposal is approved by the court, Briell said, the county library system will lose $700,000 to $800,000 over the two years.

The library director said even if the new branch must be scaled back, an addition can always be built.

Reducing the size of the branch, Metzinger said, will result in the scaling back of reading programs.




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