Public libraries see boundaries change

STEUBENVILLE – Public library boundaries are undergoing changes in our area due to legislative action taken last year that requires the State Library of Ohio to review the district boundaries of Ohio’s 251 public libraries in light of the increased number of library levies approved by voters since the state cuts to funding of the Public Library Fund from the state.

Jefferson, Harrison, and Belmont county lines have become the new library district boundaries of the Belmont County District Library, formerly the Martins Ferry Public Library, the Puskarich Public Library of Cadiz and the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.

Formerly, library district boundaries spilled over county lines in small areas, but the state library redefined the boundaries to coincide with the existing county borders, which means residents will vote on only the library levy on the ballot in their own respective county.

Library services within all three public library districts will be unchanged, and residents will be able to utilize any facility. All three libraries and their branches, as well as the three independent public libraries in Belmont County, are open to all county residents, and they share automated services with the Southeast Ohio Library Center, which includes 90 Ohio libraries.

“We have many people from the three counties use our locations in Adena, Dillonvale and Tiltonsville as the county lines are close in these areas. We are delighted to be a responsible public facility regardless of where you live in Ohio,” said Alan Hall, director of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.

Hall said Jefferson County in 2010 approved a 1-mill library levy which is currently funding the library system.

“Since the change from the Martins Ferry Public Library, residents of Belmont County can better understand that four library systems exist in the county, and the Belmont County District Library still has its main library in Martins Ferry and five branches in Bethesda, Bridgeport, Flushing, Powhatan Point and Shadyside. Since all four library systems in the county, including Barnesville, Bellaire, and St. Clairsville and the Belmont County District Library, share automated services through the SEO Library Center, residents of the county can go to any library location and receive service, regardless of their library card. Convenience and excellent library service is important at all locations,” said Yvonne Myers, director of the new Belmont County District Library.

“The Belmont County District Library is proposing a 1-mill levy on the Nov. 5 ballot and this issue will only go before the voters in the Belmont County District Library area,” added Myers.

“We are fortunate that the public libraries in our area share materials, which truly maximizes every dollar and provides a simple convenience to all regardless of their boundaries. Libraries have grown and changed to continue to meet the needs of their communities. Everyone needs to appreciate the value that libraries provide – libraries are here to serve everyone. Specifying these boundaries makes our services even more seamless,” said Sandi Thompson of the Puskarich Library of Cadiz.

The Puskarich Public Library has a 1-mill renewal levy on the Nov. 5 ballot .