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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Thank You for the Library Levy

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, November 14, 2010

“Thank you”

 

Those simple two words are not enough to thank everyone for their support in the passage of the Library Levy.

 

As I have thought about the passage of Library Levy, I am humbled by the support that we received from every corner of the county.

 

Support groups in the branch libraries, civic organizations in all areas of the county, individuals wanting to help, all worked for the levy because of their support and love for their library.

 

So, it is difficult to just say, “thank you” to everyone without missing someone who did a lot of work on behalf of the Library Levy.

 

On Nov. 2, there were 37 library issues appearing on the ballot around Ohio; the largest number of levies since the first public library appeared in Ohio in 1805.

 

30 of those 37 issues were approved by voters, including all that appeared in SE Ohio.

 

The primary reason for all of these levies was the 31 percent cut in the Public Library Fund which was done by the State of Ohio in Aug. 2009.

 

The purpose of a levy campaign is to inform the voters of the facts surrounding the need for a levy, made more important by the fact that this was the library’s first levy in the 110 year history of the library system.

 

We started with the 33,000 library cardholders in Jefferson County, and as a result of this effort, we now have more users than ever before!

 

The promotion of the Library Levy actually increased the number of people using the library system, and promoted awareness of our locations and services.

 

Volunteers attended school open houses and football games across the county, and distributed library levy brochures.

 

Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods and placed door flyers on houses.

 

Clearly, the most successful part of the campaign was the 1,500 yard signs that became the centerpiece of the campaign.

 

Everybody seemed to want a yard sign, and they often appeared as the only political sign in some yards.

 

One sign is now mounted on my office wall to remind me that the citizens of Jefferson County now have a vested local interest in their library system.

 

And now I am responsible to the citizens of the county to keep the promises of the Library Levy, and to see that the library system does what we promised.

 

I am still amazed by the library stories that the campaign provoked, from using the library as a child to learning how to use a computer today.

 

Libraries have clearly maintained their “place in society” as an important asset to communities, even with the modern information age.

 

We have books on the shelf, and e-books to download into your handheld device.

 

We have people behind a desk and answering phone, and we have online access.

 

My concluding thought to the levy campaign happened this past week.  Jennifer, the library system’s PR coordinator, and I were going to the Dillonvale Branch and I noticed that the levy sign that someone placed on the hillside above Route 7 between Steubenville and Mingo was still in place.

 

I pulled off the road, and commented “we had better get that sign down.”

 

Before the car had stopped, Jennifer jumped out and started up the slope grabbing onto weeds for support.

 

I really had intended to get the sign, but she was already up the hill.

 

As she descended the slope in high heels, I could see the headlines, “Library PR person rolls down the hill with a levy sign in hand, Library Director watches from the car.”

 

All was fine except for muddy shoes and the car floor mat; and that sign is the one on my office wall.

 

And again, thank you.