Library deserves support for levy

The system operated by the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County is a true asset to residents from around the region.

One of the reasons it can provide the multitude of services it does is money generated from its 1-mill levy. The five-year issue, which brought in $1.3 million in 2018, is up for renewal on the Nov. 5 ballot, and voters should approve it.

Mike Gray, the library’s executive director, says that while libraries traditionally have been known as places where you can find books, today’s libraries offer much more. They have become places where area residents can look for jobs, entertain themselves, connect with friends, trace their genealogy, learn new skills, study history and, yes, find a good book to read.

Voters passed the original levy in 2009, and it was renewed in 2014. The cost of the levy works out to about $30 a year for a person who owns a home worth $100,000, and that, library officials remind, is about the cost of a single book these days.

And, they point out, money generated by the levy goes solely to operating expenses, and not construction projects like the recently completed renovations at the main branch located on South Fourth Street in Steubenville.

Area residents make good use of the library’s offerings. At the end of last year, the library had 28,339 library card holders. Patrons made 72,400 WiFi connections, and more than 796,000 books and other materials were checked out either physically or online.

In addition, the staff handled an average of 751 reference transactions each week, and 1,133 people participated in the library’s summer reading program.

Officials with the library are continually looking to the future, and plan to establish a studio where residents will be able to record their own podcasts, and will be allowing area residents to record their own oral histories,which will help to ensure our region’s collective story will be preserved.

The library offers much to area residents, and its 1-mill, five-year renewal levy should be approved when area residents go to the polls on Nov. 5.


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