Some funding for libraries across the state is up in the air. The Ohio legislature is split on if the state library system should keep the money as is, or lose $22 million.
The Ohio State House budget passed its version of the budget back in April with cuts to the public library fund by about $22 million over the course of two years
The Senate budget keeps the Public Library Fund to 1.7% of the General Revenue Fund. The House budget gets rid of that 1.7%.
“Once calculated for Columbus, it's about $1.5 million,” said Patrick Losinski, CEO, Columbus Metropolitan Library.
Losinski says state funding makes up about 30% of their budget. He says they are still hopeful they'll keep all of their funding, but if cuts are made it will have to come from a combination of books, the technology available, money used for buildings and money spent on employees.
But Losinksi predicts libraries will be more necessary than ever after the pandemic.
“Particularly around children who have suffered educational losses from school and then people trying to get back on their feet around unemployment generally speaking that's when libraries are going to see more services,” he said.
The Senate and House must resolve their competing versions of the budget this month ahead of the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.