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Lakewood Public Library Looking Toward the Future

The library recently hosted a meeting of community leaders for a discussion about the community — its assets and challenges — as part of its long-term planning process.

The Lakewood Public Library is looking toward the future. 

Although the library has “been a victim” of the state’s recent budget cuts, it is financially holding its own.

And it continues to offer its regular lineup of countless programs, services and activities — all while staying open more than any of the other 251 libraries in the state.

The library recently hosted a meeting of community leaders for a discussion about the community — its assets and challenges — as part of its long-term planning process. 

Tim Laskey, the library’s fiscal officer for the past 21 years, began the session by presenting the library’s current financial position.

He shared that Ohio House Bill 920 — which keeps tax revenues for collection at a consistent level — has helped. 

That means that while property values have dropped during the past few years, the library still gets the same amount of revenue.

The library, restricted by how it can invest money, has invested in short-term US government bonds and bank certificates.

Neither have huge rates of return. 

But interest rates will improve “when the economy turns around,” Laskey said.

The library also got a boost in 2011 when Lakewood resident Agnes Shoemaker left the library $171,000 upon her death. The library created an endowment. 

“We’ve been very frugal with our spending here,” Laskey said. “We’ve operated the best that we can.”

He added that the library has no current need to ask residents to pass another levy — or anytime in the near future.

“If we can manage this thing right, we may not need to go back to the voters,” Laskey said.

Wayne Piper, a public library consultant, led the forum with community leaders last Tuesday.

Among the topics for discussion were Lakewood’s strengths, challenges and the city’s changing demographics.

Library director Jim Crawford said that the community forum was just one part of the library’s strategic planning process, as it looks toward the future.

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