Issue 60: Questions & Answers

Strong Libraries. Strong Future.

What is the Cleveland Public Library levy on the November ballot?

Cleveland Public Library’s existing 5.8 mill levy will expire at the end of 2018. The Library is asking voters to renew the existing 5.8 mill levy and increase that levy by 2.0 mills for a continuing period of time.

Why not just renew the 5.8 mill levy?

The current 5.8 mill levy would allow the Library to continue providing books, computers, programs, classes,
and other services to the people of Cleveland. However, the Library’s neighborhood branches require much needed improvements and updates. The additional 2.0 mills will allow the Library to move ahead with an ambitious, multiyear capital improvement plan to renovate, repair, renew, or replace all of its neighborhood branch libraries. It has been over 30 years since the Library last embarked on a comprehensive campaign to update its neighborhood branch libraries.

How much will the levy cost Cleveland homeowners?

The owner of a $50,000 home will pay an additional $35/year or $2.92/month or $.10/day. The owner of a $75,000 home will pay an additional $52.50/year or $4.38/month or $.14/day. The owner of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $70/year or $5.83/month or $.19/day.

How is Cleveland Public Library funded?

Cleveland Public Library is funded primarily through two sources: 1) State of Ohio’s Public Library Fund; and 2) local voter-approved property tax levies. Other funding comes from grants, fines and fees, and interest on investments.

Has Cleveland Public Library’s funding been stable?

Unfortunately, no. Since 2006, the Library’s operating revenue has decreased 25%. Cleveland Public Library addressed these reductions by cutting over $17 million dollars from its annual budget.

How is Cleveland Public Library used?

The Library serves more than 300,000 cardholders through 27 neighborhood branch libraries and the Main Library downtown. Last year, Cleveland Public Library recorded three million visits and circulated over 5.5 million items. Over one million computer sessions were provided free of charge, including access to one-on-one instruction. The neighborhood libraries are at their busiest after school. Cleveland Public Library also serves the community with the Ohio Library for the Blind and Print Disabled and free delivery services to homebound patrons. Mobile units bring library services to senior housing communities and daycare centers throughout the city. Through CLEVNET, a resource sharing network of public libraries in northeast Ohio, cardholders share access to 10 million items owned by 44 library systems in 12 counties.

What will this levy fund?

Funds from this levy will allow the Library to continue purchasing books, e-books, DVDs, and other materials as well as providing access to services such as computers and technology instruction, children’s programs and activities, meeting rooms, homework help, GED classes, job search assistance, and reference and research resources. The 2.0 mill increase will allow the Library to embark on a comprehensive neighborhood capital improvement plan to provide Cleveland residents with more effective access to the Library’s services, collections, and technology in the communities where they live, work, and raise their families.

What happens if the levy fails?

If the levy fails, Cleveland Public Library will lose 58% of its revenue and will have to make cuts to its services.