Library director willing to take pay cut to save jobsWritten by Caitlin McGlade | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Director Clyde Scoles said he would take a pay cut before laying off any employees at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, if the proposed state budget cuts are approved.
Gov. Ted Strickland proposed balancing the budget on June 19 by cutting $227 million from the Ohio Public Library Fund, causing Lucas County libraries to cut 25 percent of the annual budget, Scoles said.
“We’re talking about not only tightening our belts, but strangulation,” Scoles said.
The library employs 338 people and allots 55 percent of its shrinking $35 million budget to pay them. Scoles said no one has had to take any pay cuts in the past year, despite a 20 percent decrease in state funding last year and a 5 percent decrease in property tax funding.
About two years ago, Ohio library directors agreed to receive 2.2 percent of the state’s general tax funding rather than 5.7 percent of personal income tax because the general tax fund usually increases, but since has taken a budgetary hit, he said.
Even without the proposed budget, which would wipe out more than $2 million from Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s budget from July to December, Scoles predicted the library would lose nearly $1.8 million.
In April, the library had to cut $300,000 normally spent on materials, such as books, magazines or other media annually because of the 20 percent decrease in the state’s general tax fund, he said.
The Wood County District Public Library employed 52 people two years ago and is down to 27 workers, who have all had to take 4.5 percent paycuts and cope with losing hours, as well, said director Elaine Paulette.
Within the past year, she’s had to eliminate a staff position, cut operation time by nearly 13 hours and cut $50,000 from the materials budget, decreasing the number of new materials by 31 percent. If the General Assembly passes the proposed budget, the Wood County District Public Library will have an $800,000 budget, rather than the usual
$1.6 million, she said.
Wood County’s library does not have any operating levies and receives 86 percent of its funding from the Ohio Public Library Fund and the rest from private donors.
The Wood County District Public Library could close for a week at the end of the summer to save a week’s worth of payroll, to avoid laying anyone off permanently, Paulette said.