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Government & Politics

Senate Budget Boosts Funding to Ohio's Libraries

The Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library
Public libraries across the state, including the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, are facing potential cuts in funding with the state's next two-year budget. The Senate's version restores funding, while the House's does not.

Advocates for Ohio’s libraries are cheering the Senate version of the state budget, which restores funding that was set to drop when the current budget expires June 30.

State law sets library funding at 1.66% of the state’s general revenue fund. But for the last decade, lawmakers have upped that to 1.7%.

The House budget doesn’t recommend the higher percentage, but the Senate budget does.

Michelle Francis with the Ohio Library Council said that percentage translates to $22 million over the next two years.

“In some cases that was going to be personnel that they were going to have to lay off or terminate. And in some of areas, some of our more rural areas, if they don’t have a lot of staff, that was going to be a significant reduction in services that could be delivered to the local community,” Francis said.

A conference committee would have to work out the difference between the two library funding numbers before the budget can be signed into law.

Libraries will get $4.5 million in federal COVID relief money but that will be shared among more than 250 public library systems, and it’s earmarked for specific projects, not for regular operations.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.