Government Relations Committee

Committee Members | Purpose and Objectives

The Government Relations Committee develops the OLC legislative platform, analyzes legislative issues that could potentially impact Ohio’s public libraries and the customers they serve, and advises staff the advocacy strategy to serve the best interest of Ohio’s public library community.

Committee Members

Paula Brehm-Heeger, Chair (2024)
Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library
Work: 513-369-6941

Karl Colon (2026)
Greene County Public Library
Work: 937-736-7051

Anastasia Diamond-Ortiz (2026)
Lorain Public Library System
Work: 440-244-1192

Pamela Hickson-Stevenson (2026)
Akron-Summit County Public Library
Work: 330-643-9100

James Hill (2025)
Chillicothe & Ross County Public Library
Work: 740-702-4162

Jason Kucsma (2024)
Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Work: 419-259-5260

Andrew Mangels (2026)
Westlake-Porter Public Library
Work: 440-250-5450

Chris May (2025)
Mansfield/Richland County Public Library
Work: 419-521-3127

Nieca Nowels (2026)
Marysville Public Library
Work: 937-642-1876 x33

Michael Penrod (2024)
Wood County District Public Library
Work: 419-352-5104

Sandi Thompson (2024)
Puskarich Public Library
Work: 740-942-2623

Meredith Wickham (2024)
Southwest Public Libraries
Work: 614-875-6716 x. 119

Jim Wilkins (2025)
Warren-Trumbull County Public Library
Work: 330-399-8807 x. 124

Wendy Knapp, ExOfficio (2024)
State Library of Ohio
Work: 614-644-6843

Donald Yarman, ExOfficio (2024)
Work: 614-728-5250

Board Liaison: Cheryl Kuonen
Staff Liaison: Jay Smith


Purpose and Objectives

The primary function of the Government Relations Committee is to serve in the best interest of Ohio’s public library community in regards to all legal and legislative matters.

To that end, the GRC:

  • Maintains a legislative network to work with library directors around the state to ensure a complete and consistent local grassroots advocacy effort.
  • Monitors and examines all information that has the potential to impact the Public Library Fund, supporting any issue that would increase state funding for public libraries.
  • Makes recommendations to the Ohio Library Council Board of Directors regarding legislation to be submitted to the Ohio General Assembly.
  • Explores collaboration opportunities that will lead to more efficient and effective public library service.
  • Strongly supports the State Library of Ohio and OPLIN and their efforts to provide services to Ohio’s public libraries.
  • Reviews proposed changes to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS), supporting legislation which ensures stability of the fund while maintaining fair benefit levels, and communicating as much information as possible regarding OPERS to all OLC members.