February 17, 2018

Fall Out From Ohio Budget: Update

After several contentious weeks, the Ohio state budget has finally come to resolution
Thanks to a tremendous public relations effort orchestrated in concert by all 251 libraries throughout the state the voice of the public was heard and acknowledged by state government. Rather than the 50% cut as feared,
libraries are being cut by 31%. For my library that represents $8.5 million, for others it  still represents a serious challenge.

Since the budget was announced a week ago, libraries throughout the state have begun to announce how the cuts will impact services and operations. There is considerable consistency throughout:

• Massillion Public Library will be closed a week in August for furlough.
• Cuyahoga County will reduce salary, operations, materials and close most branches on Sundays.
• Troy-Miami County Public Library will lay off some staff, reduce work hours, eliminate bookmobile services, closing Sundays.
• Meigs County District Public Library will close three branches, layoff eight employees and reduce hours.

At Columbus Metropolitan Library we will announce on Wednesday how these cuts will impact our services, operations, staffing. 

And while the cuts aren’t as substantial as feared, we know this erosion of our budgets isn’t over yet. Given that we are funded as a percentage of state revenue, given that state revenue has trended dramatically downward over the last months…it doesn’t leave a pretty picture.

Now we face an interesting challenge — communicating to staff, customers and stakeholders how the reductions will impact libraries, all the while reminding them why these changes are necessary (people have short memories, I believe). Plus, the public keeps congratulating us as though we’ve "won." These cutbacks don’t feel like winning and we all know how hard it will be the rebuild what we are losing. And yet…it could have been much worse.

After we announce this week, I’ll be back here to share some of the backstory behind those challenges. Meanwhile, I’m in conversation with other states — California, anyone — to report in on what is happening to libraries in this tough economy.

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. janie rutherford says:

    Alison–I’ve been following your posts with a great deal of interest. State finance issues are so complicated and the trikle down effect is on the verge of devastating. Our budget here at the State Library was impacted again as we moved into the new fiscal year, and we don’t expect it to end there.

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  3. Kathleen Walker says:

    Hi. I will graduate in the spring of 2010 with my M.L.I.S. in Reference Librarianship. I am worried that I will not be able to find a job in my area since the Ohio Public Library Fund budget cuts I am worried that I will not be able to find a job. The library cuts have begun to hit home in my neighbourhood, the Massillon Public Libary.It saddens me to know that when I graduate I will face a mountain of student loans and no employment opportunities in my neighbourhood.