The Belmont County District Library, formerly the Martins Ferry Public Library, with branches at Bethesda, Bridgeport, Powhatan Point, Shadyside and Victoria Read in Flushing, is asking voters to pass a 1-mill, 5 year operating levy.
I have been the manager at the Bethesda branch for over 17 years. In that time, up to 2008, this branch was open to the public 29 hours a week and I was able to offer several programs: two storytmes, a toddler time, two teen books clubs, an adult book club and a summer reading program. Due to state budget cuts over the past 5 years, operating hours have been reduced to 18 hours. As a result, programs offered have been reduced to one storytime, an adult book club and the summer reading program.
If this levy should pass, operating hours will be restored and more programs will be, once again, offered. Over the years, I have seen hundreds of children come through the library doors for one program or another. They came not from just Bethesda but the surrounding areas; Belmont, Morristown, Centerville, and Jacobsburg, etc. I know the library has been a positive influence in these children’s lives. Teachers have told me they can tell whether a student has read over the summer or not.
The library has been a safe place for children to come in off the streets, a place to develop a lifetime love for reading and learning. It has been a place for teens to come and share their interest in books. It has been a place adults have come to use the computers, applying online for a job, printing tax forms, using the copier, and making use of our fax and laminating services. Many patrons have a computer but not a printer or they have run out of ink and the library is open for that very important resume or school report. Because of interlibrary loans, patrons can borrow from libraries all over Ohio for items such as books, dvds, cds, magazines, ebooks, and books on cds.
It would be devastating for any library in Belmont County to close its doors. For your children, your grandchildren, your future children and grandchildren, and your neighbor, vote for this very important levy. It will only cost you the equivalent of two children’s books or one adult book for a homeowner of a $100,000 house.a small price for education.