CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - 2009 was a busy year for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Funding for the library dropped $8.5 million in 2009, but library circulation reached an all-time high at 16,372,499, which is a 4.8 percent increase over 2008.
In addition, the number of library items borrowed has increased 10 percent since 2007, and the number of individuals visiting the library reached more than 6.1 million and the number of cardholders went up 15 percent since 2008 and now totals 271,000.
Accounting for nearly all of the increases in Library circulation, customers borrowed 9,476,093 print items, up by 790,335 over 2008, a growth of nearly 9.1 percent.
"One of the most fascinating things about this incredible growth is the unprecedented growth in print circulation," noted Kim Fender, Executive Director of the Public Library.
Library officials say the economy has been a factor in the continuing demand for library services. More customers are computer programs and job seeking workshops on resume writing and interviewing techniques while also participating in videotaped mock interviews. To meet these growing needs, the Main Library's TechCenter doubled the number of training classes offered each month.
The library received recognition in 2009 as one of the busiest and best public libraries in the nation, ranking among the top 10 for the fourth consecutive time in Hennen's American Public Library Ratings for libraries serving a population of 500,000 or more.
The Library's operating levy passed in November of 2009 with a 73 percent for vote.
"Starting in 2010 the Library will receive approximately $20 million in local tax revenue to replace funding lost from the State," said Fender. "I would like to again thank everyone who donated their time and money to this campaign and offer my sincere gratitude to the voters of Hamilton County who overwhelmingly supported the Library."
With State funding dropping at a completely unanticipated pace in 2009, the Library diverted capital funds (intended for ongoing maintenance) and gift funds received over the years just to keep the Library open. Should State funding experience a similar drop in 2010, these funds, now largely depleted, leave the Library with little cash to meet its operating needs.
"We've already been told by the Ohio Department of Taxation to expect our State funding to drop by another $2.6 million in 2010," explained Fender. "With State funding continuing to decline, it remains vitally important for our Library to maintain its good stewardship of funds and to continue to seek efficiencies."
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