What an interesting week this has been, full of contradictory information and confusing spin in the media. Hard to know where things stand, but wanted to share with you what I know. Last post I said the Governor was meeting with the legislators over the weekend, but guess what? That never happened.
Instead, we are now in an interim budget for the next seven days, with a contingency plan to extend that interim budget for an additional 7 days….taking us to July 14th. Evidently all parties have come to agreement on all aspects of the budget except for the introduction of video gambling. Legislators maintain that Ohio voters have voted gambling down 4 times; the Governor says there is no other way to fill the budget hole. Hence an impasse.
We are walking a tightrope here. The passion of our customers has been profound and influential, but at the same time, it is ticking off our Governor. Watch him here and see how angry he is with libraries. He says that libraries have been "disingenuous" and that we refuse to take our fair share of cuts. Libraries maintain that we have already taken our fair share (20%) and his additional 30% means a 50% total cut, too much to bear.
Now we’re in a true marketing challenge: stasis. We’ve issued a powerful challenge — branches may close. We’ve acknowledged that legislators have heard the message. But we don’t know what is next or when. We are slowly going back to some level of normality, but hesitate to back off from the urgency of our message. Importantly we continue to use our statewide organization, Ohio Library Council, to organize and deliver the message. That way state libraries are unified, powerful and consistent.