Mentor Public Library Board of Trustees voted to place a 2-mill additional levy on the March ballot.
If approved, the library said it would revoke its current 1.1-mill levy that was aproved in 2008. That means the new levy would effectively replace the current levy, though it’s not a replacement levy.
The new levy would produce $3.6 million for the library system, which is $1.7 million more than the current levy, said Library Fiscal Officer Colleen Snyder.
The new levy would cost property owners an additional $28 annually per $100,000 valuation. The levy currently costs property owners $33 per $100,000 valuation.
Part of the additional $1.7 million the library would receive would compensate for the $500,000 cut in state funding the library system suffered.
Mentor Public Library Executive Director Lynn Hawkins said part of the levy would also help the library pursue the goals identified by its community focus group.
“We just completed our strategic plan so we know what the community wants and needs from us,” she said.
Those goals include:
- Creating young readers
- Creating online access for everyone
- Encouraging reading, viewing and listening for pleasure
- Supporting lifelong learning
- Understanding how to find, evaluate and use information
"There is a tremendous response to our technology training," she said. "They are packed and continue to be packed for every subject -- whether it be learning how to use Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, how to surf the Internet safely, setting up an email account, all of them."
Conversely, Hawkins said that if the levy doesn't pass, the library system would probably have to cut back on its weekend hours at all three of its branches.
"We've made it a point for (the Headlands and Lake) branches to remain open on Saturday; and we kept the main branch open on Sundays while other libraries were closing that day. We even added hours on Sunday because that was important to our patrons," Hawkins said.
Hawkins acknowledged that this might be a difficult time to put a levy on the ballot.
“It’s never a great time,” she said. “We recognize that.”
She said that recent levy approvals for Madison and Kirtland library systems buoyed her hopes.
"It will be an opportunity for the community to tell us what level of library service they would like to have here," Hawkins said.
The Board of Trustees voted for the levy 5-0. The board usually has seven members but Harry Fishleigh recently resigned and Deborah Foley was absent.
The proposed levy still needs to be approved by the Mentor Schools Board of Education before it’s officially on the ballot.