The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
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September 2009

What’s New · Who Needs Libraries in the Digital Age?

Apparently more people than ever need our Library, which is why usage is breaking all records. The Library is on target to loan over 16 million books and other materials this year with about 1 million more items borrowed in 2009 than in 2008 (a 25% increase in usage since 2000)! Visitors to the Library, use of databases, program attendance, computer usage, and library card registration have also increased dramatically. During challenging financial times like these, managing your money, spending it wisely, and pinching pennies are very important. The Library remains one of the area’s treasured institutions as people look for sources of free, effective help in a time of need. Read how the free services at your Library changed lives of these Library fans.

Sandra Ramirez Sandra Ramirez

Services for Students - Sandra Ramirez

Ten-year old Sandra Ramirez got an A+ on the last test in her Languge Arts class. She gets A’s on her math homework, too, because she finishes it and does everything right. But not too long ago, Sandra struggled to read and solve math problems.

“I didn’t really know how to read, and I wasn’t really good at math,” she said. As soon as Homework Central opened at the Main Library, Sandra’s mom brought her to the new department where volunteer tutors helped her learn how to read and understand her math assignments. “The volunteers are really nice to me,” she said. “They help you with your homework, and you don’t have to pay anything. To me, it’s like a miracle.”

Assistance with Education - Rozzi Family

The Rozzi family The Rozzi Family

In July when the Governor proposed cutting state funding for public libraries by an additional 30%, Rita Rozzi and her three children Bruno, Monica, and Peter were among the hundreds of supporters who attended the Save Our Libraries Rally at the Loveland Branch. “I really don’t know what we would do without the Library,” explained Mrs. Rozzi. Ensuring that her three children receive the best possible education motivated her and her husband to start home schooling. “We could not do it without the Library’s support,” she said. “My children would not have read one-quarter of the books that they’ve read or know which ones are good without the guidance of librarians like Sharon. Do not close our Library!”

Support for Job Seekers - David Baker

David Baker David Baker

After David Baker was injured on the job, he went through a time when he was unable to work. “I’ve been very active most of my life and always worked in very physical jobs,” he explained. “I quickly learned I had to reinvent myself. I used the computer lab at the Main Library to prepare my documents and print them out. Just to be able to access the different job sites in a nice environment made a difference…it was the right thing at the right time.”

Today, David is enjoying the challenges of the job he accepted last spring as an Office Support Specialist with the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services. The Library plays an integral role in David’s family, too. They visit the North Central Branch multiple times during the week to check out books, DVDs, and videos as well as enjoy the other no-cost, family friendly entertainment opportunities available at the Library including concerts and book-signings.

Library Funding Cuts

Due to state funding cuts the Library is facing a $16 million deficit in 2010. As a result of these cuts, the Library has already had to eliminate over 200 staff positions, cut 241 hours a week, and cancel or postpone all capital projects. All these cuts have come at a time when the Library is busier than ever before. Stakes have never been greater. But without new funding the Library will be forced to make more cuts that will result in closing up to 20 branches, further reduced hours, additional staff cuts, and purchase of fewer books and materials. On November 3, there will be a 1 mill operating levy that will Save Our Public Library—Issue 7. This levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home in Hamilton County $2.50 per month. This is an excellent value compared to the cost of books, CDs, and DVDs. Information about the levy is available on the Vote for Our Library website.