I rarely look at these dialogues but felt that some perspective might be useful.
First, the actual number of people coming through the doors of Mahoning libraries has been going up; not down. It will be about 1.2 million people in 09; an 10% increase. That's about 3 times the total attendance at the Canfield Fair. Find out why libraries are seeing such large growth in use by checking out the library's website.
When it comes to discussing taxes and library service, know how much people actually pay in taxes for the library. In Mahoning libraries cost the owner of a property appraised at $100,000 about $2.97 a month. It's listed at near the very bottom of the tax bill; one of the lowest items. It's 1.5% of the total on mine. Libraries in Ohio also receive a 1.97% of State income and sales taxes. The amount has been gradually shrinking since 2000. But it wasn't until this year that people took note.
So what does a person get for their investment? Several states have done economic studies of this and found the ROI to be $4 to $7 for each $1 invested.
Most people don't know it but libraries in Mahoning are recognized when it comes to generating non-tax funds to support operations. Here are just two example. An honor-based system of selling donated books from carts operated by a team of volunteers raises $20,000+ a year. The money helps pay for the summer reading program. 4,900 children participated in it this summer. They read 33,000 hours. Cafes and meeting rooms have raised about half a million dollars since founded just a few years ago.
Libraries in Mahoning are also known for working collaboratively. In December the library here is being recognized nationally for an endeavor with 23 other organizations that over the past 2 years has brought back to Mahoning over $5 million in tax credits.
I mention all this simply to point out that there is a lot more to the library than most people think. If you look below the surface you'll find the library is intricately engaged in ways that are not often fully realized. As people discuss the library, it would be a good idea to learn more. You can do so at the library or on its website.
September 26, 2009 at 11:47 p.m.
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