August 20, 2014

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North Ridgeville library renewal levy passes

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Renewal of a 1.91-mill levy Tuesday means the North Ridgeville Branch Library will be able to continue offering its array of programs and services for the busy facility.

“We’re always glad when people see the value in the library and always appreciate their support,” Meagan Hayes said following the levy’s relatively easy renewal by a 2-to-1 margin.

Unofficial figures from the Lorain County Board of Elections had the levy passing by a vote of 2,846 to 1,360, or 68 percent to 32 percent.

Rejection of the levy would have had a draconian effect on the library, including staff cuts of nearly half of the branch’s 22 full- and part-time employees, reduced hours of operation, curtailed purchases of books, DVDs, audio books, and other items, and elimination of all programming and nearly all of the library’s 50 public computers.

The North Ridgeville Library is a branch of the Lorain Public Library System.

The issue raises $1.25 million a year for five years and represents 85 percent of the branch’s total funding. The remaining 15 percent comes from state library money, according to Hayes, a Lorain Library system spokeswoman.

The levy costs $55.75 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.

Tax issues have become increasingly important to libraries such as North Ridgeville’s since state funding for libraries statewide was decreased in 2002, Hayes said.

“This allows us to continue to offer a customer-focused staff and programming and maintain the materials people expect,” Hayes said. “We try to offer what the community wants.”

The 1.91-mill levy was first approved as a replacement offering increased funding in 2004 shortly after the library moved to its state-of-the-art facility on Bainbridge Road after years of leasing much smaller quarters in various locations.

The issue was renewed in 2009 and was set to expire at the end of 2014. The city has had a library since 1958.

The Bainbridge Road branch registered 200,000-plus visits in 2013 during which more than 458,000 items were checked out.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.