Ed Worso, GCPL Director

As this campaign cycle continues to move forward, I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone for their overall support and use of our local libraries, no matter what personal sentiments may be. It’s never easy to ask taxpayers for money, no matter what the amount. And, whenever we’re asked why we’re looking to build and improve our facilities – which we are already proud of – we find ourselves in the unique position of being able to make our good product excellent.

Let’s be honest. It’s never a good time to go on the ballot. It’s never a good time to ask people to pay more taxes.

However, there is a right time. There is a time when we realize that together, we are better able to serve ourselves, our children, our parents, and our neighbors. That time is now.

How much longer should your tax dollars continue to pay for buildings that are failing and cost up to 73 percent more to heat than our newer, energy efficient buildings? How much longer should some of our branches be without quiet study areas? How much longer do patrons need to be turned away from using community meeting rooms because they’re already booked and in use?

Additionally, our children’s areas are lacking in many of our buildings. Only Middlefield has a spacious, dedicated children’s interactive learning area for learning, playing and reading. Our other communities deserve comparable spaces that foster creativity and excitement for education. Children who grow up reading are far more likely to become lifelong learners, and with schools now mandated to abide by the State of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, it’s imperative for communities to come together and help all children be successful in school. Libraries work as partners in the education process. We provide the space and materials that set the tone for academic proficiency. Isn’t it time for all Geauga’s children to have an opportunity to benefit from libraries that are designed to help them learn and grow?

We’re offering voters a chance to address these issues. They’ll be able to decide how long the wait will be. If the bond issue passes, citizens can expect to see structural improvements within three years.

Yes, these necessary improvements come at a cost of approximately $16 – $17 annually for an owner of a $100,000 home. We’re asking for a half mill, and hope that patrons find the cost worth the gain everyone will enjoy. We respect our patrons and fellow Geauga citizens, which is why we conducted a long and thorough facilities assessment. We do not take our taxpayers’ dollars lightly. If we didn’t believe we could significantly impact the quality of life here in Geauga, we would be happy to carry on with business as usual.

Regardless of what happens in November, GCPL will continue to offer excellent service. Our doors will always be open to job seekers looking for assistance in finding a job, to parents looking for storytimes that ignite a passion in their children for ideas and books, to students looking for credible research sources and to anyone in need of finding their next favorite book, movie or music collection.