State Librarian’s Report
Libraries: Access for All
Libraries are all about accessibility. Librarians spend their professional careers ensuring that library service -- virtual as well physical -- is provided to all residents.
Patrons who are blind or who are physically handicapped in such a way that they are unable to use a traditional book are eligible to receive services from the National Library Service Talking Book Program. Since the mid 1980s, the State Library of Ohio has worked with depository outlets across Ohio to distribute Talking Book machines. The Cleveland Public Library and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County have provided the Talking Book reading material to individuals living in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. Although these two libraries receive both federal and state funds, over the years they have found that more and more local funding is required to run these programs.
We all acknowledge the brutal fact that budget cuts affect our services. We may be able to absorb some cuts by giving up positions when people retire or by cutting back on collection development but ultimately cuts have an affect on the services that we are able to offer.
Our most recent round of cuts spurred a dialog around the Talking Book Program. Based on the amount of funding available, it has become impossible for both Cincinnati and Cleveland to continue to offer the service. Beginning on July 1, 2009, the service will be delivered across the state by Cleveland Public Library. I have no doubt that it will continue to be an excellent program and I am certain that the 16,000 + customers who benefit will not see a change in the customer service that they receive.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Kim Fender, Donna Faust, and all of the individuals at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County who have been responsible for many years for providing service to the blind and physically handicapped community. And another thank you goes to Holly Carroll, Barbara Mates and the staff at Cleveland Public Library for their willingness to serve this community.
I am proud to be in a profession dedicated to ensuring equity of access. And I am proud to have as colleagues the staff at Cleveland Public Library and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County -- who are perfect examples of the excellent library service Ohio librarians give to all Ohioans.
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Do you have a program or service that would be of interest to our readers? The News, a publication of the State Library of Ohio, welcomes articles submitted by State agencies and Ohio libraries. Articles should be between 400 and 500 words in length and should pertain to the specific theme of the month. The Newsletter Committee retains the right to edit articles as necessary. See below for descriptions of themes and deadlines.
Please submit your articles, suggestions and questions to Marsha McDevitt-Stredney, Editor, State Library News through email.