PIQUA — A renewal tax levy for Piqua Public Library is on the ballot for the upcoming Nov. 3 election. This is the second time that the library is seeking this tax levy of 1.3 mills, which was first approved five years ago.
“This is an operating renwal, so these are all just general operating costs,” Jim Oda, director of the Piqua Public Library, said. Oda explained that the operating costs go toward funding items such as buying books and computer programs, employee hours, electric or gas bills, and so on.
“There’s no capital, we can’t build anything,” Oda said. “It is a renewal, so there are no new taxes for this.”
If the renewal does not pass, Oda explained that the library will have to cut 30 to 50 percent of their services.
“We (will) cut hours, cut staff, cut books, cut the number of videos … cut about a third to half of our services,” Oda said.
The library’s services go beyond books by providing a multitude of informational resources, access to computers, job resources, and an overall community center.
“We operate a huge number of … services,” Oda said, adding that not everyone owns a computer. “Computers are expensive, we provide those. Job services, we provide those … Employment services, we provide those.”
Oda explained that a library is a necessary part of the makeup of a town.
“A library is an essential part of our community,” Oda said. “You don’t want a community without a school, (and) you don’t want a community without a library.”
When it comes to the information that the library holds — in the form of books, documents, videos, audio cassettes, and more — Oda stated that access to that is a part of maintaining a free nation.
“We’re kind of a bastion of freedom,” Oda said. “You can’t be a free nation without free information, and we provide that free information.”
Located downtown in the historic Fort Piqua Plaza, the library is also a community and cultural center for Piqua.
“We have thousands of people who come in every year,” Oda said. Oda remarked those people include people who come in to sit and read a newspaper or who visit for meetings or to see their history or art displays.
“We are a library, and we are also more than a library,” Oda said.
Oda added that being a community center, “is something we are very, very proud to be a part of.”
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall