Ohioans must like their libraries. Every local library levy on the ballot Tuesday passed
There was one big non-partisan win in Ohio’s primary Tuesday — libraries. There were six local library issues on the May 3 ballot Tuesday and Ohio voters approved 100% of them.
The Ohio Library Council’s Michelle Francis said all of the local libraries passed their levies. But she said this isn’t the first time that’s happened.
“All of the library levies in 2021 passed in both the primary and the general,” Francis said.
Francis said she thinks the high passage rate is because Ohioans appreciate their libraries and the wide variety of important services they offer.
"It's just another reinforcement of how important those services are to the local communities," Francis said.
She said people may have gained a whole new appreciation for libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the community hubs provided even more services. She pointed out that Ohio libraries distributed more than 2.5 million free, at-home COVID-19 test kits over the course of the pandemic.
Libraries also offered a variety of digital products during that time. Francis said libraries saw that usage skyrocket and many public libraries boosted their internet capability so people could access free Wi-Fi while sitting in library parking lots. That was especially important in some rural areas of Ohio where residents couldn't get Wi-Fi in their homes so children could continue with online classroom learning during the pandemic.
Francis said libraries continue to be a big part of their communities. She explained they are playing an important role as the state recovers.
"From helping students catch up from learning loss to assisting job seekers with technology training, libraries continue to innovate and meet the needs of their communities," Francis says.
Of the library levies on the ballot Tuesday, the average passage rate was 71%. A renewal levy in Grandview Heights passed with 87% of the vote. Other levies were passed for the Upper Arlington Public Library, the Loudonville Public Library, the Archbold Public Library, the Mt. Sterling Public Library, and the Rossford Public Library.
The successful library ballot issues included three renewals, two renewals with an increase, and one replacement.