OLC presented testimony in the Senate Finance Committee today on HB 166, the state budget bill. Eight-year-old Ruby Bushong and her mom, Nickel explained to the committee how they have personally benefited from the products and services at the Perry County District Library. Ruby and her sister Vivian both graduated from the library’s 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
Michelle Francis, OLC’s Director of Government and Legal Services, was joined by Pam Hickson-Stevenson, Director, Akron-Summit County Public Library, who talked about how public libraries are responding to the opioid epidemic with efforts to distribute drug deactivation pouches and serving as places for people to dispose of unneeded medication, with an emphasis on unused opiates. Babette Wofter, Director, Licking County Library, talked more about how libraries are offering WiFi hotspots, resources for small businesses, and innovative literacy programs for children. In addition, Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO, Cleveland Public Library provided written testimony which focused on early childhood literacy and academic support as well as workforce development, including digital literacy. The Senate Finance Committee was able to hear first-hand how public libraries are having an impact on communities across the state. A video of today’s testimony is available on the Ohio Channel.
- make public libraries a priority in the Senate version of the state budget;
- support Amendment SC3424 to restore the Public Library Fund to 1.7% of the GRF;
- hold public libraries harmless from any additional unintended reductions in state funding resulting from the tax reform proposals.