Worthington Borough Council's decision to reduce funding to the Worthington-West Franklin Community Library from $4,000 to $1,000 ( “Worthington library director says vote doesn't mean lack of support” ) may signify an end to library services. Concurrent with another $100 rent increase (the third in as many years) to $900 per month, the deficit is devastating.
The library's yearly budget is about $40,000. Monies garnered from the township ($4,800) and borough fall short of the local financial support necessary to receive state aid, and the library must supplement with fundraising. Last year, it was able to raise nearly $20,000, clear evidence that Worthington values its library, but the facility was hard-pressed nevertheless to afford rent, payroll, materials and other expenses.
This year, the library will have to redouble efforts to be eligible for state aid while burdened with a rental commitment that surpasses its local and state funding combined.
I propose the community commit to making the building library property and not just another source of capital to the Worthington Civic Center at the expense of the township and borough, which both entities essentially serve. Despite the library's diligence in paying the ever-increasing rent, the Civic Center has failed to fulfill its duties as custodian, neglecting to repair the roof, which is leaking in three places — over books, mind you.
If the building were library property, maintenance would be the library's responsibility, it would be eligible for more grant money and state funding, and the other tenants in the building could be a reliable revenue source.
The writer is vice president of the Worthington-West Franklin Community Library Board of Trustees.
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