We are a 5-star library, again!

Posted on Thursday 3 November 2011

Westerville Public Library has once again been recognized nationally as a “Star Library” and awarded a 5-star rating—the highest possible—in the LJ Index of Public Library Service 2011, released yesterday by Library Journal.

The LJ report scored 7,513 public libraries and identified 262 star libraries nationally – with only 85 receiving a five-star ranking.

America's Star Libraries: The Library Journal Index of Public Library Service 2011

Scoring is based on 2009 data from Institute of Museum and Library Services that includes library visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet computer use. The score is also figured according to annual operating expenditures. Our total score is 2nd best in the country, within the range of over $5 million and under $10 million.

What do you think makes the Westerville Library exceptional?

Executive Director @ 5:30 pm
Filed under: General Topics
Library Funding

Posted on Monday 24 October 2011

How is the Library Funded?

The Public Library Fund (PLF) is funded with 1.97% of the total tax revenue received by the State of Ohio and divided among the 251 public libraries in Ohio. While the PLF remains our primary source of funding, the amount of revenue it provides continues to fall. State funding of public libraries has decreased by over 22% in the past two years, 40% over the past decade.

In 2010, the PLF provided 51.4% of all revenue received by our Library. The Westerville Public LIbrary tax levy provided 42%.

2010 Revenue:

Public Library Fund, State of Ohio


Local Property Tax


Fines & Fees & Miscellaneous


What are the Library’s expenditures?

2010 Expenses:







Capital Outlay


Contract Services


Other Expenses


What are the proposed State Budget cuts?

Monthly distributions of the Public Library Fund so far this year have shown some growth, but Governor Kasich’s proposed State 2012-2013 biennium budget, reduces PLF revenue by another 5%. As a result, our Library would see an additional loss of about $261,316.00 dollars, over two years.

How will this budget cut affect the library?

This 5% cut is on top of a 40% reduction in State funding since 2000. Over the same time span, the number of items borrowed grew by 26%. The Library has already reduced hours, cut staffing, frozen salaries, reorganized the Library, postponed or cancelled capital improvements. We are currently looking at how best to make up this additional loss of revenue and are considering every option including reducing hours.

What is the Library’s funding outlook?

The Library continues to maintain strict control over expenses, and, in anticipation of further funding reductions, currently has a number of open jobs which it is not filling. Until State revenue stops declining, adequate Library funding remains at risk.

As we see continued growth in usage during these challenging economic times, it is clear that our Public Library is more valuable and relevant to the children and families of Westerville than ever before. We are committed to continuing to provide excellent library service to all residents of Franklin and Delaware County, as required by Ohio Law with reduced funding, but some difficult decisions will have to be made to operate within our budget.

Executive Director @ 2:01 pm
Filed under: General Topics
We Need your Support November 8th!

Posted on Monday 10 October 2011

This November 8th is a critical election for the future of the Westerville Public Library!  The 42% reduction in State Funding has had a significant impact on your library.  Since 2007, the library has reduced staff, implemented a salary freeze in 2010, closed on Sundays, drastically reduced our materials budget, and made many other significant reductions in the budget that are not always noticeable to the public.  Without the successful passage of Issue 19, the library would lose 100% of its local funding, which is already the lowest in Franklin County.  In fact, the library would still be the third lowest locally funded in Franklin County even with the successful passage of Issue 19.

I think most of you would agree that the Westerville Public Library is an exceptional library and one of the assets that make Westerville an exceptional place to live and work.  We have done our part in making the Westerville Public Library one of the most cost efficient libraries in Ohio and indeed the nation.  We have been nationally recognized as such!  We have worked very hard to make the necessary reductions while minimizing the impact on the public.

However, we can simply not absorb the loss of our local funding without making draconian cuts in staffing, hours of operation, programs, materials and services that our community needs and expects.  Please help us by supporting Issue 19.  Place a yard sign in your yard to show support, talk to your neighbors about the importance of maintaining a strong library in Westerville.  Most importantly, please vote YES on November 8th. You and our community deserve a quality library!

Thank you for your Consideration and Support!

Don W. Barlow


Executive Director @ 2:15 pm
Filed under: General Topics
Protect Our Library

Posted on Wednesday 28 September 2011

On Tuesday, November 8, our citizens will be asked to help protect the hub of information, learning and activity for our community – the Westerville Public Library. A replacement levy is needed to ensure that hours, materials and services are brought back to normal levels, after suffering reductions due to continuing cuts in state funding.

The circumstances are dire. The library has endured reductions in state funding since 2007 that total a mind-boggling $1.6 million. Cuts of at least $300,000 are coming over the next two years. Without the levy, the library will lose over 42% of our present operating budget.

We’ve put cost saving measures into place. Making a critical move to conserve costs, the library had to close on Sundays. The library has suffered cuts to staffing, purchase of library materials, maintenance, programs for all ages and more.

How have our patrons responded? Since 2007, circulation has increased by more than 16%. The number of library users has risen by 19%, climbing to over 100,000 registered cardholders.

How have we managed our spending? The library remains one of the most cost efficient libraries in Ohio. Our cost per circulated item is $2.34 – lower than any other Central Ohio library.

What is needed to protect the library from further cuts and to bring back the reduced services? The November issue replaces our .8-mill levy first passed in 2002 and adds 1.2 mills to help balance the budget to meet your needs. This 2-mill levy will cost an additional $3.06 per month, per $100,000 of assessed home value.

The wording Protect Our Library has been selected to represent the call for support on November 8. It is perfect. Without the replacement levy, the library will lose over 42% of our present operating budget, creating even deeper cuts to staffing, library hours and materials. Those services are the heartbeat of our library and are in desperate need of your protection.

The library levy request will be listed as Issue 19.

Please visit the Protect Our Library levy website for details.

Executive Director @ 3:59 pm
Filed under: General Topics
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

Executive Director @ 1:38 pm
Filed under: General Topics
Another Great Year!

Posted on Thursday 24 March 2011

I want to take this opportunity to thank you, our community for another great year. Due to your continuing support, the Westerville Public Library is once again ranked among America’s Best and most cost efficient libraries. The Hennin rankings for public libraries ranked Westerville eighth among libraries serving a population of 50,000-100,000. That is eighth among the 542 libraries in our population category. In addition, your library received a FIVE STAR rating by the American Library Association. Only 35 Five Star ratings were given to America’s 7,402 public libraries, a great accomplishment for our library and our community.

While this was a very difficult year financially, due to the 32% reduction in state funding. We had to make some difficult reductions in library hours, staffing and services. Hopefully, these cuts will be temporary and we can once again open on Sunday’s, purchase more materials for your use and continue the outstanding services you have come to expect and deserve.

I would like to invite you to take a glance at our annual report to see how your library continues to work to better serve your needs.

Annual Report 2010: Westerville Library

(Trouble viewing our Annual Report? Download the PDF.)

Executive Director @ 3:24 pm
Filed under: General Topics
Happy 2011!

Posted on Thursday 13 January 2011

Happy New Year! I extend my appreciation to all of you for helping your library celebrate another very successful year.

Once again our library was selected as one of the best libraries in the country, ranking 8th of 759 public libraries serving a population of 50,000-100,000 residents. Your library also received a Five Star rating by the Library Journal, the highest ranking available to public libraries. Only 85 Five Star libraries were selected from more than 7,900 public libraries throughout the U.S.

Working together, we rolled up our sleeves and addressed many issues during a very difficult financial year. We reduced our budget by nearly 30%. Some of the cuts were painful, such as closing on Sundays; drastically reducing our ability to purchase new materials; and curtailing staffing. But, with your patience, understanding and support, the library continues to excel.

While we face another difficult financial year, our primary goal is always the same—to furnish our patrons with the materials and information they need, while providing outstanding customer service.

We will continue to do just that, and we look forward to another great year of serving you and your family.

Executive Director @ 6:27 pm
Filed under: General Topics
Help the Library Win $10,000!

Posted on Monday 1 November 2010

Want to help the Westerville Public Library win $10,000? We are one of ten finalist in the Playaway: Picture This contest and could be just one vote away from winning!

In order to qualify for the contest, we built a display featuring all of our Playaway audiobooks. (Playaways are MP3 players that come preloaded with audiobooks that you can listen to when you’re on the go!)

Take your favorite authors, from James Patterson to Danielle Steel, with you to the gym, the park, the doctor’s office or even around the house while you’re doing chores!

And don’t forget, be sure to cast your vote now through December 17 for the library’s chance to win $10,000!

(Note: Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker before voting.)

Executive Director @ 12:45 pm
Filed under: General Topics
Kitten Needs a Job

Posted on Monday 25 October 2010

Wondering how your library can help you find a job? Watch Kitten’s story to learn how she used the library to help her choose a career, create a resume, prepare for interviews and more!

Executive Director @ 9:44 am
Filed under: General Topics
We Are a 5-Star Library!

Posted on Monday 11 October 2010

Westerville Public Library has been recognized nationally as a “Star Library” and awarded a 5-star rating—the highest possible—in the 2010 Index of Public Library Service recently released by Library Journal The LJ report scored 7,407 public libraries and identified 258 star libraries nationally – with only 85 receiving a five-star ranking.

Scoring is based on 2008 data from Institute of Museum and Library Services that includes library visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet computer use. The score is also figured according to annual operating expenditures. Our total score is 2nd best in the country, within the range of over $5 million and under $10 million

2010 has been a rewarding year for the Westerville Public Library. In April, Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings ranked Westerville as the 8th best public library in the nation among those serving district populations of 50,000-99,999.

Executive Director @ 11:25 am
Filed under: General Topics
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