January 2014

About Us · Library Funding

How is the Library Funded?

In January 2008, the Public Library Fund (PLF) replaced the Library and Local Government Support Fund, which had funded Ohio's public libraries since 1986. In establishing the PLF, the state broadened the base of library funding to include all general revenue taxes and fixed the percentage for libraries at 2.2 percent of collections. By mid-2009, the percentage was reduced to 1.97 percent. The 2012-13 biennium budget set library funding at 95% of prior year distributions, less new deductions that fund the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The 2014-15 biennium budget eliminated the fixed monthly distribution and returned to the percentage of revenue funding approach. The current biennium budget decreased the percentage from 1.97 percent to 1.66 percent in the first year but increased slightly in July 2015 to 1.7%. In 2015, the PLF provided 65.46% of all revenue received by our Library.

In November 2013, Hamilton County voters overwhelmingly renewed a 1-mill operating levy for ten years for the Library. Over the last several years, the levy revenue has offset the loss of state revenue. The levy will provide a dependable source of revenue through 2023 but will not provide any potential for growth. In 2015, the 1 mill property tax levy provided 30.46% of all revenue.

2015 Revenue:

Public Library Fund, State of Ohio 38,898,721.17 65.46%
Property Taxes 18,101,160.07 30.46%
Patron Fines and Fees 1,464,250.77 2.46%
Earnings on Investments 50,701.79 0.09%
Contributions, Gifts, and Donations 47,000.00 0.08%
Miscellaneous Revenue** 861,470.18 1.45%

**Restricted grants, Passport fees, supply sales, property rentals/sales, refunds, digital services.

What are the Library’s expenditures?

2015 Disbursements:

Salaries 25,691,771.07 49.80%
Benefits 3,545,874.63 6.87%
Supplies 1,583,227.28 3.07%
Purchased Services 8,263,830.74 16.02%
Library Materials and Information 8,834,433.94 17.13%
Capital Outlay 1,403,517.53 2.72%
Other Objects 264,075.31 0.51%
Interfund Advances and Transfers 2,000,000 3.88%

The Library continues to maintain tight control over expenses while improving services.

In 2015, the Library opened new branch libraries in St. Bernard, Reading and Clifton. The new branches have meeting rooms, tech labs, areas for children, teens and adults, and spaces to sit and read. Plus, Reading and St. Bernard have small makerspaces of their own. The buildings are all energy-efficient and St. Bernard and Reading are LEED Certified.

In 2015, use statistics were high in many areas – circulation was over 18.7 million. Digital downloads once again led the growth with 3.1 million items downloaded, accounting for about 17%, of our total circulation. Print (books and magazines) accounts for 50% of the items borrowed with the remaining 40% comprised of all forms of audiovisual materials.

Outlook for 2016

In 2016, we are expecting the PLF and the levy revenue to be approximately equal to 2015 revenue. On the expense side, we will continue our conservative approach. We expect increased operational costs because of the new, larger facilities. We continue to invest in technology to meet the needs of our customers. We will continue to provide excellent library services to all residents of Hamilton County within the resources available.

Financial Reporting and Audits

The Library's excellence in financial reporting was once again recognized through receipt of both the Auditor of State Award of Distinction and also a Certificate of Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association for its 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Copies of the Library's annual state audits from 1999 to the present may be accessed from the Ohio Auditor of State's website.