Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has proposed slashing statewide library funding by 50%
over the next two years. Unlike most other states, Ohio libraries rely primarily on state support for their budgets. This means that most libraries -- which have already seen cuts in state funding of up to 20% -- will see their budgets cut in half. Smaller libraries who are already struggling will have to close outright. Larger libraries will have to cut essential services, close branches, lay off staff, drastically reduce hours, and forego long-overdue repairs and upgrades to facilities and equipment. At a time when Ohio residents are flocking to the libraries more than ever for Internet access, job information, resume-writing workshops, and self-education, these proposed cuts are incomprehensible. While the necessity for cuts is not in question, one wonders how the governor can justify the fact that other less essential agencies are seeing much smaller cuts or even increases.