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Heights Libraries Prepared for State Budget Cuts

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library system receives more funding from levies than from state

Heights Libraries Prepared for State Budget Cuts

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library system won’t be as devastated as other libraries in the state from the budget cuts announced in Gov. John Kasich’s proposal earlier this week.

His two-year budget proposal includes a 5 percent cut in library funding statewide in 2012 and 2013, or a loss of more than $160 million during the two years.

Heights Libraries gets about a fourth of its funding from the state. The rest comes from continuous operating levies passed in 1992, 2000 and 2008, said Nancy Levin, director.

“We didn’t want to be dependent on the state,” Levin said. The next levy will be in 2013. “They were supposed to be five years apart, but we make the money last longer.”

The library is expecting revenue to be about $8.8 million this year, which is about 3 percent less than in 2010, she said. About $2.4 million came from the state. 

The library has budgeted for 10 percent less in state funding.

She did not say specifically where the cuts would be made, but she does not foresee major changes or layoffs. All four branches will remain open. 

"We realize that we have a high level of service because we have four buildings in 10 square miles, but the local people support that," she said, adding that many are within walking distance to a branch. "We don’t want to close a location unless the people tell us to do that. I have heard directly from many many people that they don’t want to close any branches, and I don’t want to, either."

In 2009 the library had to cut back Sunday hours, and now just the  that day.

"We've already cut staffing by 10 percent since 2008, and we have cut our budget more than a million dollars from the 2008 level," Levin said. 

More on the Heights Libraries' budget will be published in subsequent articles after the board's March meeting and when more details about state funding are available. 

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