By Kevin Kelley
Westlake Porter Public Library Director Andrew Mangels said passage of Issue 15 is required for the library to essentially stay in business.
The 2.8-mill operating levy, for which Porter is seeking a five-year renewal, provides about three-fourths of the library’s annual $4.7 million budget. The current levy expires at the end of this year.
Mangels said 2012 provided plenty of examples of how the library serves the community and it deserves the continued support of Westlake residents. Services introduced last year included:
• participation in the SearchOhio and OhioLink consortium interlibrary loan programs, through which Porter patrons can borrow books from across the state.
• free digital subscriptions to as many as 79 magazines through Zinio, a San Francisco-based digital publishing company.
• the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, which encourages early reading.
• a partnership with Connecting for Kids, a Westlake-based nonprofit that provides support for families concerned about their children’s development.
Porter also kept its doors open an hour longer on weekends, from 5 to 6 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays beginning Aug. 10. Throughout 2013, Porter will be open on Sundays, even in the summer, Mangels said.
The library has expanded services by reallocating resources, Mangels said. And Porter has a long-term plan to fund future capital improvements, such as roof repairs, he added.
Porter officials also point to the meeting rooms provided at no cost to numerous community groups. “We want this to be a community building where people can gather,” said Karen Alfred, president of the Friends of Porter Library.
If the renewal is approved by voters, the owner of a house valued at $100,000 would pay $85.75 annually. The tax is expected to raise $3.82 million annually.
Members of Porter’s board of trustees will be in the library lobby from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday to answer questions about the levy. For more information, visit westlakeporterlevy.com.