Here’s your chance!  You can make an investment that will return at least $4.00 for every $1.00 invested and the more you use it the more you get back.

Sound good?  Great!  All you have to do is support the 1-mill levy on the ballot this November 8 providing funds for the Portage County District Library.  Every library system in Portage County–Ravenna (Reed), Kent Free, Portage County District Library–is asking for support from the communities that they serve.  Local libraries have been hit hard by the current economic situation (Who hasn’t…other than the really high-end folks?) because of the severe cut-backs in state funding(A thirty per cent reduction since 2001..and the library budget is funded 95% by the state).  Our libraries have done just about everything that they can, short of setting up casinos in the reference section, to continue to offer the services that their patrons are seeking but it’s been tough.

Belt tightening?  Not since “Mammy”  yanked the corset strings on Scarlett in “Gone With the Wind” have you seen such tightening…and they’ve been doing it for ten years!  Hours have been reduced, staff has been reduced, materials have been shorted(Remember the magazines you used to be able to get?  Gone! The free CDs and videos?  Gone!  That nice story-lady in the kids section?  Gone!  Quiet Thursdays when you could get some reading or some research done?  Gone! ).  And it could get worse!  The PCDL is operating at the same funding level as 1996.  Can you do that?

The levy request for the PCDL is one mill–Reed and Kent Free are slightly more and still a bargain–amounting to about $2.50 per month if your house is valued at $100,000 (fat chance for a lot of us in the current market).  Forego a couple of  large everything pizzas–that means you, Wide Load–and you’re paid for the year.  How easy was that!

And what do you get for the money, small as it is?  You get access to e-government and job resources, you get support for literacy and reading for children, you get equal access to information for everyone(even those without the internet or magazine subscriptions or electronic whiz-bangs), you get a source for self-education and improvement (Yes, even YOU can improve!).  And you get all this at the branches in Aurora, Garrettsville, Randolph, Streetsboro and Windham as well as through Library Express and Outreach Services to homebound individuals and nursing homes (Happy reading. Aunt Elsie).  Teachers and students in Garfield, Rootstown, Streetsboro, Field, Waterloo, Crestwood, Southeast and Windham will be able to benefit too.  It’s money spent by Portage County that stays in Portage County (Just like Vegas…maybe the casino thing would work!)

Think about it.  Think about access to computers and internet; think about book groups and other adult programs; think about music, movies, literature; think about recorded and digital books; think about job search assistance; think about story times and summer reading programs; think about information resources; think about community and coming together.  They can all start at your library.  Think about getting back to 2001; then think about what we can do together to continue to go forward.