Friday, June 26, 2009
In other words, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU one zillion times over for your fantastic support in reponse to Governor Strickland's proposal to drastically cut the Public Library Fund. We love serving you and we hope to continue to serve you with the same levels of quality and consistency that you've grown to expect from our library.
Today, one of our Super Patrons was in the middle of writing a letter to her local legislators in support of public libraries and called our Reference Desk with a question that I'm sure has popped up in a few Ohioans' minds over the last few weeks.
How do I know for sure who my State Representative is? Especially for you folks who live on the edge of municipalities, sometimes it's difficult to discern just who you should contact when you want to make your voice heard. The Ohio House of Representatives has a nifty tool on their website that allows you to do a search for your Rep by your zip code. Simply log onto the House website and in the right-hand side of the screen, under "Quick Member Search," enter your zip code (+4), select "search," and voila! Your very own State Representative will greet you on the next screen with all the information you could ever want or need.
Again, thank you for your wonderful support, encouragement, strength, and hope. We can do this!
Monday, June 22, 2009
The state legislature is working to finalize Ohio's next biennium budget by June 30.
At a news conference on Friday, June 19, the Governor proposed a cut to state funding for public libraries of $227.3 million in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 as part of his plan to fill the $3.2 billion gap in the budget that must be balanced by the Ohio General Assembly's Conference Committee by June 30. This will mean a more than 50% cut in funding for many of Ohio's public libraries. Libraries could close or face significant reductions in operations as a result of the Governor's proposal. This cut is in addition to the 20% reduction in funding that libraries are already facing, because their funding comes from 2.22% of the state’s declining General Revenue Fund.
With some 70% of the state's 251 public libraries relying solely on state funding to fund their operations, the reduction in funding will mean that many will close branches or drastically reduce hours and services.
The Governor's proposed funding cuts come at a time when Ohio's public libraries are experiencing unprecedented increases in demands for services. In every community throughout the state, Ohioans are turning to their public library for free high speed Internet access and help with employment searches, children and teens are beginning summer reading programs, and people of all ages are turning to the library as a lifeline during these difficult economic times. Ohio's public libraries offer CRITICAL services to those looking for jobs and operating small businesses. Public libraries are an integral part of education, which Governor Strickland says is critical to the state's economic recovery. But it is unlikely that many of Ohio's public library systems, especially those without local levies, can remain open with these proposed cuts.
About 30% of Ohio's public libraries have local property tax levies that supplement the state's funding. However, with the Governor's proposed drastic cuts in the state funding for libraries, even those libraries will face decisions regarding substantial reductions in hours of operation, materials, and staffing.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Contact your legislators!
Let your state legislators and the governor know what your library means to you!
Massillon-area residents can call or email below to contact their elected officials:
- Governor Ted Strickland
Contact online: http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Contact/tabid/153/Default.aspx
- Senator Bill Harris, President of the Senate
- Senator John Carey, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
- Senator J. Kirk Schuring, 29th District
- Representative Armond Budish, Speaker of the House
- Representative Vernon Sykes, Chairman of the House Finance Committee
- Representative Todd Snitchler, 50th District (Brewster, Navarre)
- Representative W. Scott Oelslager, 51st District (Massillon/Jackson)
- Representative Stephen Slesnick, 52nd District (Canton)
Spread the word!
After contacting your legislators, help us spread the word to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Here are some suggestions:
- Update your Facebook or Twitter status to read:
_____ contacted my elected officials to help save Ohio libraries and you should too. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/save-oh-lib
- Send an email to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues:
"Ohio libraries are in jeopardy. I contacted the governor and my legislators to let them know what my library means to me. Find out how you can help, too: http://tinyurl.com/save-oh-lib"For more information, please visit:
Save Ohio Libraries
OLC News: Governor's Budget Proposal Cuts the PLF by 50%
Governor's Proposed Budget Framework
(Special thanks to Sherie Brown, Head of Reference Services at the Massillon Public Library, for organizing and composing the information provided in this posting!)
Friday, June 12, 2009
That's exactly what one of our patrons asked us last week. The night before, she had experienced a vivid dream that ended with a deep voice bellowing, "you have reached the ninth level of heaven." Unable to shrug off the glaring details of her slumber vision, she approached our desk for help. Essentially, she wanted to know if a ninth level of heaven was ever mentioned in religious history or if the phrase only existed in her dream.
We immediately began scanning dream dictionaries, celestial guides, and various materials dedicated to Judaism (from which the term "seventh heaven" is derived) and world religions for any mention of a hierarchy of heavenly spheres, particularly a ninth heaven. Coming up empty-handed after a solid twenty minutes of searching, we turned to the Internet and tried our luck with the sometimes valuable/sometimes unreliable force of Wikipedia.
In its entry for heaven, Wikipedia includes a reference to Tuamotus, a Polynesian chief who, in 1869, penned an illustration of the universe according to his culture's system of beliefs. In the drawing were nine spheres of heaven, each linked to a stage of the earth's evolution. This definitely looked promising to our weary eyes!
After printing out a copy of Tuamotus' work of art, we probed the Polynesian religion a bit more for answers. The illustration we found was a great starting point, but it proved somewhat futile until we found a bit more information about its origins and for what certain symbols stood. After a bit more digging, we discovered that the Journal of the Polynesian Society devoted an entire article to an explanation of the drawing's nine spheres of heaven in volume 28, issue 112 of their publication. We were convinced that the article, penned in 1919, would not be available online (or with free access!), so imagine our surprise when we found the text in its entirety!
We breathed a sigh of relief, our patron clapped her hands with excitement, and our Reference Department found itself with one more tricky reference question under its belt!
Massillon's very own Margy Vogt is hard at work on her next writing endeavor and seeking to obtain historical pictures of the city that she can include within its pages. If you (or anyone you know) have access to such images and wouldn't mind sharing them with her, please email Margy at email@example.com.
Thanks for your assistance!
(Photo courtesy of L. R. Shipman via firstname.lastname@example.org)