April 24, 2018

From the Ohio Battleground!

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:
Columbus Dispatch

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!

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. RON SHANK says:

    Please correct your number to reflect $200,000,000.

  2. Rhonda Stapleton says:

    This is unacceptable. I’ve already contacted the governor and my representatives to let them know why I believe in the libraries should continue to be funded, in the hopes that they will reject this bill. Please support our libraries!!

  3. Alison Circle says:

    Thank, Ron. I’ve corrected the number. That’s a mind-boggling amount of zeroes!

  4. Lisa Dickson says:

    The Governor supports Ohio libraries in theory – just not financially.

    I agree wholeheartedly with what Francine wrote about the negative and far-reaching impact of Governor Strickland’s proposed budget cuts:

    “That would mean fewer places for those who voted you into office to look for jobs and get training, test preparation, and other skills. That would choke access to—and help with filling out—government applications for all kinds of assistance, including unemployment and housing. That would eliminate after-school hours for kids and teens. That would mean fewer books, audiobooks, CDs, and DVDs for residents at a time of economic distress when they need “free” more than ever.”