Wright Memorial Public Library earned a four-star rating in the 2019 Library Journal Star Library report, ranking 19th overall among libraries of its size in the nation. The designation comes as the library is seeking to pass a levy in March.

Oakwood library earns four-star rating, seeks levy passage

The Library Journal index, based on 2017 statistics, measures how much the local community uses key services of their public library compared to peer libraries. The five services measured are circulation, visits, program attendance, public internet use and Wi-Fi sessions.

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Wright Library ranked 19th overall of the 1,251 libraries evaluated in its expenditure category ($1 million – $4.9 million). This is the second consecutive four-star rating for Wright Library.

“This designation is an affirmation that Wright Library is delivering on its mission, and that the services we provide are highly valued by the Oakwood community,” said Library Director Kristi Hale.

Wright Library earned the four-star rating for the first time in 2018. Previously, the library earned three-star ratings in 2017, 2010, 2009, 2008.

This year library officials have placed a 1.5-mill levy on the March 17 ballot, that if approved, would pay for operations.

If passed, it would cost property owners about $52 annually per $100,000 of assessed home value.

The proposed levy has been certified by the county auditor to generate $474,307 annually for the library.

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Wright Library Board President Joe Fulford said its passage would help make up for funding cuts.

“Over the past decade, steep decreases in Ohio state funding means Wright Library operates with much less revenue than it received in 2008,” Fulford said. “This levy will ensure that Wright Library can continue providing the services, staff, facilities and materials that the Oakwood community values.”

The library — which has not had new tax revenue since 2009 — has cut costs, put off building maintenance, reduced staffing and sought private donations, according to library officials. They said that Wright Library’s expenditures are expected to exceed revenues this year.

The levy would fund both long-term operations and essential repairs and improvements to the building, phased over time, and within the current footprint, according to Hale.

She added property taxes to support Wright Library constitute 1.4% of Oakwood property owners’ total tax bill. Oakwood taxpayers do not support other library districts. Oakwood’s library property taxes solely support Wright Library.

“Along with seeking tax support, the library is committed to raising private dollars for facility needs,” Hale said. “Philanthropy will be an important part of this process. Securing private grant monies along with state and local tax dollars is key to moving forward affordably.”

The library will host four community information sessions about the upcoming operations levy. They are slated to begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 29; 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11.; 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, and then at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29.

The information meetings will be held at Wright Library and are open to the public.

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