Please “Help Protect Our Library” – Important Levy on November 8th!

Posted on Wednesday 1 June 2011

Now more than ever, residents rely on the Westerville Public Library for books, research, internet access, job searches, homework assistance and other critical services they need daily.  In ten years the library has not increased its .8-mill levy, the library’s only local tax support. Westerville is the lowest locally funded library in Franklin County.

State funding for the Westerville Public Library has been cut $1.6 million since the .8-mill levy was passed in 2007.  We are now at 1996 funding levels. State funding will be reduced by an additional $300,000 through 2013.

In the past five years, our library has had to cut staff, reduce library hours by closing Sundays, reduce our book budget by 40%, and defer critical building maintenance. Without the replacement levy, the library will lose 42% of our funding at the end of next year. It’s an additional $3.06 per month per $100,000 of home value.

To offset further losses, the Library Board determined that 2.0 mils is needed to maintain the level of programs and services our community needs.  The Library Board also weighed carefully the options and saw the need for a continuing levy term rather than five-year.  The library simply cannot move forward with the prospect of losing 60% of its funding every five years.  With a stable funding source, the library can plan with certainty and not have to return to the voters for additional funding for at least ten years.

What will the Replacement Levy with additional millage cost?  The new levy will total $61.25 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, or $3.06 per month. Currently, the Westerville Public Library has the lowest funding of Franklin County’s seven library systems.  If successful in November, Westerville would still be the third lowest funded library in Franklin County.

How much will the new levy cost me compared to other communities?

  • Worthington          $163/4.8 mils
  • Grandview             $144/4.7 mils
  • Columbus              $86/2.8 mils
  • Average                 $84/2.475 mils
  • Delaware                $78/1.0 mil
  • Upper Arlington     $62/2.0 mils
  • Westerville             $61/2.0 mils
  • Bexley                    $46/1.5 mils
  • Grove City              $31/1.0 mil

What will we do with the levy funds?

  • Reopen and expand Sunday hours of operation.
  • Restore the more than 40% in cuts to purchasing library materials since 2007.
  • Fill 12 of the 14 open library positions reduced due to state funding cuts.
  • Add much-needed parking space.
  • Open the Local History Center on Saturdays.
  • Replace the aging carpet in Adult Services.
  • Improve the Library drive-up window and drop slot.
  • Replace the 1955 and 1980 heating and air conditioning systems.
  • Offer requested Adult, Youth and Teen programming.
  • Update the Youth area.

These are the major areas that must be improved for the library to continue the programs and services you rely upon from the Westerville Public Library.  Our promise to you is that with your help we will accomplish all of this and more.  And, we will continue to be one of the most cost efficient libraries in the country.

All of us at the library ask for your support of the November Replacement Levy.  Help keep our library strong, vibrant and responsive to your needs.  We pledge to continue providing good stewardship and value for the funds that you entrust to us.  As always, I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.  I can be reached through this blog or by telephone at (614) 882-7277, Extension 2140.

Thank you so much for your continuing support of the Westerville Public Library.


Don W. Barlow

Calculate Your Library Savings

8 Comments for 'Please “Help Protect Our Library” – Important Levy on November 8th!'

    Bart Brinkman
    July 20, 2011 | 10:23 am

    I worked at WPL a couple years ago and have to say they really squeeze every dollar they receive. I’m always skeptical of government wasting our taxes but can tell you this is not the case at this library! I could not believe the amount of people and traffic at the library mid day and after 5, it’s packed. The local libraries in my communities are not like this, they are usually sparse with people. Westerville has an amazing library that is really the envy of other systems in the library world and they do all of this with extremely low funding levels. Many patrons come from other library districts because WPL provides such high levels of services. I’m confident Mr. Barlow and the board would not ask for a cent if not truly needed.

    Please support this modest request at the polls. I don’t think any other organization provides services to so many people with so little funding as the Westerville Library, it is truly a value for the Westerville community.

    July 20, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    Thank you so much for your comments Bart!

    Jim Wagner
    July 29, 2011 | 3:36 pm

    Our family will be supporting the Westerville Publiv Library on the November ballot. We deeply appreciate the excellent public service, and will be pleased if once again the library will be open for a few hours on Sundays.

    I do find it ironic that that the library posts pictures of all the local politicians. Many of these “community leaders” have little support for public services or public employees, especially during the last few years. I would prefer the library discontinue these postings.

    August 1, 2011 | 11:39 am

    Mr. Wagner:

    Thank you so much for your comments and your continuing support of one of our community’s greatest assets, the library. The read posters are not intended to promote local and state politicians, but to promote reading and libraries. Unfortunately, many of Ohio’s legislators and others have not supported Ohio’s libraries and other important services to the extent needed. While that is indeed unfortunate and frustrating, we still feel there is an important message in encouraging reading and literacy for Ohio citizens.

    AND YES, if successful In November we will Re-open on Sundays from 1:00PM-6:00PM.

    Again, thank you for your support of the library, it is deeply appreciated!


    william edwards
    August 15, 2011 | 10:09 am

    Over the years I have pointed out repeatedly about one or more outdoor lights being “on” during daylight hours. This gives the misconception that the library must have plenty of money if it cannot be bothered to make sure the outside lights, like the lamp near the reservation window are “on” when they clearly should not be. I pointed this out to multiple staff BEFORE our last levy…issue still observed last week.

    August 15, 2011 | 5:09 pm

    Mr. Edwards:

    Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. Most of our exterior lights are on a dusk to dawn setting. I will have the settings set to see if that is the problem. I will also check to make sure the dusk to dawn is not faulty. Sometimes when the unit goes bad during the evening, the lights stay on continuously.

    Again, thank you for bringing this to my attention and I will address your concern ASAP

    Don W. Barlow
    Executive Director

    Judy Woodruff
    August 24, 2011 | 4:19 am

    Upon my retiring from education eight years ago and moving to the Westerville area, I have discovered the Westerville library, and I am so ever grateful for this wonderful institution. Since obtaining my library card, I have checked out 445 books from the library. Not having the time to fulfill my quest for reading while teaching and rearing a family, I am forever grateful for this wonderful organization now that I have the time to spend with my reading pursuits.

    I have found the library to be very efficient in every aspect of my working with them—the ease of locating books on the internet, reserving them, the short turnaround time from requesting them to having them made available to me, and the quality of their serving me upon arriving at the library to check them out. I so appreciate the efforts they utilize in locating books for me from other libraries when they cannot fulfill my request from their library.

    I am totally amazed each time I visit the library to pick up my requested books or to return them at the at the amount of people using the library. We are very fortunate to have this library, and I would highly encourage everyone to support this levy.

    August 24, 2011 | 2:32 pm

    Ms. Woodruff:

    Thank you so much for your comments and your support of the Westerville Public Library. As you mentioned, we are very fortunate in Westerville to have such an outstanding library. Our library is staffed by some of the most dedicated and gifted individuals I have had the honor with through by 30+ years in libraries.

    Each of us is dedicated to providing the very best programs and services in the most cost efficient means possible. In fact, we are ranked as one of the most cost efficient libraries in the nation for those libraries serving between 50,000-100,000 people. While we are very proud of that recognition, we take even greater pride in the comments of our customers, such as yourself.



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