Thursday, June 25, 2009



This post is not about Knitting or Travel. It's about my real life. If you don't live in Ohio, you may not care about this post; if you do, please read it and, if you will, act on it.

I've worked for ten years at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Stow, OH. We're a small stand-alone library, but even with our small size we provide excellent service to our community.

This week we received news that Governor Strickland proposes to cut library funding drastically - more than $200 MILLION over the next two years. This would force many libraries to close.

I urge anyone who has a stake in Ohio's libraries to contact your state senators and state reps and urge them to vote against this cut, which strikes hardest at the Ohioans in most need. If you can help, please do.

Here is a link to my library's press release and contact forms for the reps.

Here is a link to where you can find out who your state senator is and who your state representative is, if you don't know.

And here is the letter I wrote to Governor Strickland. He didn't get to see it in its full glory; his contact form only gives you 1000 characters so I had to trim it a lot. However, I think somebody should see it!

Dear Governor Strickland,

I am writing on behalf of Ohio Libraries to ask you to reconsider the severe library funding cuts you have proposed for the next biennium budget. Ohio’s libraries have been enduring a steady decrease in state funding over the past decade, and we have coped with this change very well – to the extent that Ohio’s libraries are still the best in the nation. However, no organization is equipped to cope with a 50% drop in income, and the proposed budget would devastate the library system, forcing many closures and losses of service.

Ohio libraries preferentially serve the sector of our population who need the most help: job seekers, our children, especially students, and our senior citizens. I am employed at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in Stow, Ohio, and our small library alone sends outreach librarians to day care facilities, senior citizen homes and homebound individuals to bring these people materials they need as well as human contact. We teach 15 to 20 computer classes per month, helping jobless Ohio workers upgrade their technical skills to improve their chances of finding employment, and enabling formerly computer-illiterate people to navigate the Web well enough to accomplish many necessary tasks. (Such as filing for unemployment benefits.) We assist students on everything from locating summer reading books to solving algebra equations to filling out FAFSA forms online, and we proctor college exams for the students taking classes online.

Ohio needs a balanced budget. But she also needs her library system to continue to function. I urge you to find another solution for the best interests of Ohio’s citizens.

Diana Parker

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