In 2018, public libraries offer many services and resources. Then again, public libraries have always been many things to many people. In 1904, when Carnegie Library opened its doors in Washington Court House, we were a resource for readers and researchers of all kinds.
It provided a quiet place to read the newspaper, a book of poetry, or research pyramid building in ancient Egypt. More than 100 years later, we are still meeting these needs, and so many more. Public libraries are built upon the basic tenet of free, equal access to materials, resources, and information for all.
Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, champions libraries as “cornerstones of democracy.” We proudly serve this role.
An average of 95 percent of our library’s revenue comes solely from the Public Library Fund (PLF), which has been greatly reduced over the last decade. Currently, your library operates in 2018 with the same amount of funding we received in 1998. Can you imagine?
And yet, your library strives to do great things in the community each and every day. From offering four storytimes per week to streaming free digital audio books through the Ohio Digital Library (with this shrinking revenue, we offer an abundance.) The numbers included in our “Year in Review” reflect the more than 2,000 children and families committed to early literacy by attending library storytime, the 500-plus quality informational and cultural programs presented by community members and library staff, and the nearly 8,000 active library card holders in our community alone.
Individual glimpses and every day encounters beyond these numbers reveal the sweet parade of preschoolers and toddlers arriving each Tuesday and Thursday for storytime, the community members who stop in to read the newspaper, the adult learners accessing their class materials online, and the delighted faces of children proudly receiving their first library cards. These moments are the true highlights in each year.