Ohio Voters Support Library Levies, but Shaker Heights was a Squeaker

May 11, 2018

Ohio library measures fared well at the voting booth in Tuesday's primary, though a hotly contested library levy in Shaker Heights passed by a narrow margin. The Shaker library's local connections may have tipped the scales.

The campaign pitted the library against a community group that argued Shaker should merge with the Cuyahoga County library system to better achieve cost savings. The levy passed by a margin of just over 300 votes out of more than 9,000 cast. Shaker Heights Library Director Amy Switzer says she's still recovering from the tight victory. 

"Actually, I like it when people are talking about libraries and that libraries matter so much to the community, but we weren't taking anything for granted," Switzer said.

The Ohio Library Council's Douglas Evans says the Shaker levy was one of 10 that passed across the state, from Ashtabula to Cincinnati. Evans is a champion of library systems large and small, but he thinks that independent libraries often build a sense of ownership that have great appeal to voters.

"I think there is a desire to have that local affiliation that can be specifically tailored to meet the needs of that community," Evans said.

Evans adds that over 50 library levy issues have gone before voters in the past four election cycles. Every one of them passed.