Buckeye Lake Library suddenly fighting for its life
Needless to say I was blindsighted Friday night when I read the article in The Advocate about budget discussions that could close the Buckeye Lake Library. To hear such dreadful news in this manner was mindblowing, but what was even worse…the dedicated staff at our library heard the news in the same manner. I find that appalling
I am also embarrassed that I wrote just two weeks ago to the community and to the Sims family, that the future of the Buckeye Lake Library was bright. None of the Friends Board saw this coming either We had been told by Licking County Library administrators that we had outgrown our current space and we should be looking for a bigger and more visible building. It sure didn't sound like we were at a risk for closing
I am afraid that financial discussions are occurring in Newark without a complete understanding of how important our young library is to this community. The library system's fiscal officer appears to be focusing on the number of library card holders and the number of items checked out. That doesn't tell the whole story, particularly in a community where many of the families with children can't afford computers and Internet service. Computer usage is high at our library, both from children doing homework and adults looking for jobs. This is a particularly bad time to be cutting so many people off from computers and the Internet.
I suspect the Buckeye Lake Library is the library system's least costly branch to fund. Thanks to the Friends group and our community, this community pays for all building expenses including utilities, insurance, maintenance and supplies. Licking County Library pays all staff expenses and provides thereading materials and computers. Those certainly aren't insignificant amounts, but we can't overlook our local contributions.
Two important meetings are coming up in the next two weeks. The Licking County Library Finance Committee meets at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 on the second floor of the Newark Library. The complete library board meets one week later at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 19 in the same place. I suspect the board will make its decision on budget cuts at that meeting.
I encourage everyone who cares about the future of Buckeye Lake and our children to make every effort to attend these meetings. It is important that we put faces on their numbers and the impact of their decision. It took years of hard work and very significant donations from this community to finally get a library. We can't lose it without a fight. If you wait for others to step forward, it will be too late.
Please take a few minutes to write a letter to library board members and newspapers. Then mark the next two Thursday afternoons on your calendar. We must demonstrate how important this library is to us.
Thank you for your support.
Pam Reed, President
Friends of Buckeye Lake Library
P.S. No matter what happens, your Buckeye Lake Library Discount Card will still be honored through July 15, 2009 at 22 businesses. The Friends put this card together thanks to the generosity of these local businesses. If you haven't purchased one, it is still a great value at just $10. Cards are available at Pizza Cottage, The Beacon, Mantonya Chiropractic and Mr. TAS Tanning & Video.