On March 14, the OLC testified on House Bill (HB) 33, the state budget bill for Fiscal Years (FY) 2024-2025, in front of the Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education. OLC’s Executive Director Michelle Francis told lawmakers how public libraries are essential to the communities they serve and that library services today go far beyond books. She provided examples of how libraries work to meet the needs of their local communities with services such as homework help and tutoring, job search assistance and training, and lending Wi-Fi hotspots.
Jay Smith, OLC’s Director of Government and Legal Services, explained that keeping up with the growing demand for library services is only possible with adequate funding. He described how state funding through the Public Library Fund (PLF) is critically important because it remains a primary source of revenue for public libraries. He also described how inflationary costs and building maintenance are impacting library budgets. He urged lawmakers to make public libraries a priority in this budget. He said that funding the PLF in permanent law at a minimum of 1.7% of the General Revenue Fund (GRF) is a step in the right direction. More information is available at libraryfunding.olc.org/budget-testimony.
Transcript of testimony
Michelle Francis, Executive Director and Jay Smith, Director of Government and Legal Services