So much is happening that new information comes out every hour as Ohio Governor Strickland and the state legislature attempt to plug a $3.2 billion budget shortfall, $200,000,000 of it from library funds. Here’s what I can tell you:
Ohioans love libraries. From our library’s website ALONE: 35,000 customer emails were sent to legislators within 3 days. So much so that Ohio Library Council (which is setting a unified strategy for libraries) has asked us to rein in the call to action. We have updated our signs, fliers and web message.
Media coverage is everywhere. Here’s a sample:
Word from the legislature is 100% contradictory. One update says it looks good that a change will be made. Then the Governor issued this letter today.
Over the weekend the Governor will be meeting with the budget conference committee and now says that the budget will be signed and in place by July 1 (according to state law.) Earlier in the day we had heard that there was the possibility of a 30-day extension. But not now I guess — or wait another half an hour.
The amazing thing here — if you’ll indulge a marketing viewpoint — we have been able to stay consistently on message as a library, a statewide coalition, staff and customers: we know we have to do our part. We’ve already taken a 20% hit; and additional 30% is catastrophic.
Let me share with you the words of Tom Dillard, from our Friends of the Library. He stood on the capitol steps yesterday at a customer-organized rally and said the words of the preacher man:
Let our libraries, all 251 of them live.
Let our libraries continue to work as they:
Help citizens find job opportunities in their community
Help citizens apply for jobs
Help citizens fill out resumes
Help citizens prepare for civil service exams….
Let our libraries continue to inspire as they:
Share the vast literary resources with our community
Provide the tools and resources needed to help citizens imagine, build and live their dreams
Provide the support needed for citizens to enrich their lives and the lives of the community.
In the words of Flo in those Progressive Insurance commericals:
Power to the People!