November 1, 2014

Elyria
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GRAFTON LIBRARY

A levy success keeps services

Issue 32
What: A 1.5-mill continuing levy
How much it would raise: $739,580 annually
Purpose: To support the operations of Grafton-Midview Public Library
Cost to homeowner: The owner of a $100,000 home will pay $3.83 a year

Melissa Linebrink
The Chronicle-Telegram

GRAFTON — For the first time in the Grafton-Midview Public Library’s history, it is seeking financial support from the community.

On Nov. 3, residents will be asked to vote on Issue 32, which is a 1.5-mill continuing levy that would generate approximately $739,580 in funds said Grafton-Midview Public Library Director Adele Infante.

As it stands, 95 percent of the library’s revenue comes from state funding through the Public Library Fund. The remaining 5 percent comes from restricted grants, gifts and finds.

It is the only public library in Lorain County that receives no money from an operating levy.

That funding formula worked until this past year, when the library had to deal with less revenue from the state as the economy took a downward spiral, Infante said.

“As state revenues dropped each month, so did our funds from the state. Our budget was tightened and services were cut more than once,” Infante said.

By May, it was evident the library could no longer function adequately without an operating levy. In June, the state passed its 2010 budget with cuts for libraries from the general fund. This is expected to result in an 11 percent reduction.

With the additional funds provided by the levy, the library would restore its hours and services to its previous levels, plus continue with its plan to provide more of what the community has asked for, Infante said.

“We have been busier than ever because the needs of our community have changed, and our library has adapted to those changes,” she said.

According to Infante, approximately three years ago a survey was sent out asking the community what they wanted from the library. The responses came back, asking for more books, movies, programs and space.

From the survey, long-term plans were made to increase library services.

Today, the Grafton-Midview Public Library offers storytime for children, an adult summer reading program and computers with the latest software.

In fact, more than 4,800 patrons attended 355 programs in 2008, Infante said.

But, without the increase in funds, the library’s services will be cut.

Hours of operation will decrease; there will be a reduction in the amount of DVDs, games and music purchased, and programs and reference services will be suspended.

“Our belief, at this time, is that the state simply cannot or will not support libraries as they have in the past. The future of our library is in the hands of the community,” Infante said.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7155 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com.