Ohio Libraries Win at Ballot Boxes Across the State

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Ohio library measures fared well at the voting booth, this past Tuesday, but hotly contested library levy in Shaker Heights only passed by a narrow margin.  

The campaign pitted the library against a community group that argued Shaker should merge with the Cuyahoga County Public Library system to better achieve cost savings. The levy passed by a margin of just over 300 votes out of more than 9,000 cast. Shaker Heights Library director Amy Switzer says she's still recovering from the tight victory.  

"Actually, I like it when people are talking about libraries, and that libraries matter so much to the community," she said.  "But, we weren't taking anything for granted."

The Ohio Library Council's executive director Douglas Evans said the Shaker levy was one of ten that passed across the state, from Ashtabula to Cincinnati.  Evans is a champion of library systems large and small, but he thinks that independent libraries often build a sense of ownership that has great appeal to voters.

"I think there is a desire to have that local affiliation that can be specifically tailored to meet the needs of that community," Evans said.

He added that over 50 library levy issues have gone before voters in the past four election cycles.   Every one of them passed.  

Shaker plans to use some of their levy funds to repair the roof of their main library and update H-V-A-C systems at both of their buildings.

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