Entrance to Main Library in Cincinnati. Photo by John Alexander Reese

By: WCPO staff

CINCINNATI — Voters in Hamilton County have passed Issue 20, a ballot measure renewing and expanding the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library tax levy.

The library’s board of trustees voted unanimously in July to ask taxpayers for a larger levy this election. The levy will cost county taxpayers $18 more per year for each $100,000 in assessed property value, meaning taxpayers would pay $43 total per year.

The levy is separate from the one voters approved in 2018, which was largely for capital improvements for the library’s branches. It will be for operations and addressing the library’s changing landscape.

Board member Colleen Reynolds previously noted the money will help with the library’s e-book expenses. While the library’s digital collection is more popular than ever, the cost of e-books and audiobooks is much higher than paperback.

For the library system to get their e-book wait time to match the print book wait times, it would cost the library an additional $2 million per year, said Paula Brehm-Heeger, CHPL director.

Money will also go to increased public safety initiatives at the branches, Reynolds said.

The library gets much of its funding from the state’s Public Library Fund, though that amount fluctuates and is not a given, Reynolds said. She said the staggered levies — and the fact the CHPL is the only major library system in the state that carries no debt — will hopefully help maintain financial stability.

Reposted with permission from WCPO 9 Cincinnati.

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