Libraries are vital to all of Ohio’s communities

Published 10:46 pm Saturday, June 27, 2009

This is a letter that I submitted to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland:

I understand that these are trying time for the American people. Our great state has been bearing the brunt of economic decline with the loss of so many jobs and tax revenue. The state budget must be balanced.

However, severe cuts to the Public Library Fund is one of the worst ways to accomplish this goal. This action will lead to the closing of many locations that serve rural and poor Ohioans, plus severely limit services at main branches.

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Libraries are one of the few community institutions left in this country. In many localities they are the heart of the community.

They provide services for those seeking employment that are not met by employment offices and One stops.

Many people use library computers to take online course, so that they can obtain better employment. Libraries offer databases that lend access to business information, news, employment trends and more that allow people to make informed decisions about careers, starting a business, health care, education , etc.

Libraries also offer amazing career information and services. Just look at Cuyahoga Public Library’s Career Center.

Portsmouth and southeastern Ohioans helped put you in the governor’s office. Yet, Portsmouth does not even have a local employment office.

As you know, many here are rural and poor and as such rely on Portsmouth Public Library and its branches to obtain critical information and services related to employment. And yes, books for entertainment because they can’t afford movies, restaurants, theater or anything else.

Idle minds and desperation are a terrible thing and these often lead to an explosion in crime and consequentially increased prison costs.

If I were to start a business, I would not consider Ohio, a state that does not value literacy and information access for all of its citizens.

Aimee Long