Message to the Community from Luren E. Dickinson:
As we begin a new year, we are approaching the end of the state of Ohio’s two-year budget cycle, which began in July 2011. At that time, funding of state tax distribution through the Public Library Fund was frozen through June 2013. As a result, Shaker Library received virtually the same state funding in 2012 as in 1992, with no adjustment for inflation, while Ohio government spending increased over 60%!
Fortunately, Shaker Library has had tremendous local support, thanks to significant growth in property tax revenue, partly due to an increase from 3 to 4 mills in 1997, and the inflationary increase of housing valuations. Nonetheless, even local library funding has dropped by more than 23% for a total loss of $900,000 since 2009. As a result, Shaker Library cut its expenditures 16% since they peaked in 2007 and actually spent less in real dollars in 2012 than in 1992! Yet, despite declining funding, library usage has risen over 50% in 20 years. Shaker Library is well used by its community!
There is no doubt that things have changed in the past 20 years. Access to the Internet as we know it today was very limited. And there was little talk of global warming. It all came together for me this past December 4 when I saw a man in a light jacket at a picnic table outside the Main Library—about 15 minutes before the library opened—using the library’s wireless Internet on his laptop computer! There were no public PCs in 1992 like we have today. In 2012, public use of computers surpassed 180,000 sessions, an increase of more than 20% over 2011 alone.
For those who fret over the demise of the book, take heart! Shaker Library checked out more print material in 2012 than in 1992. The big increase—nearly a tripling—has been in the nonprint area. We had audio and video cassettes, CDs, and vinyl records in 1992. Today, we have DVDs, and all kinds of downloadable material. Check us out!