Library supporters rally in downtown Bowling Green


Inside the Wood County Public Library at noon Thursday it was cool, and people were telling stories.
Outside the temperatures were rising toward triple digits, and people were telling a story.
The story told by Children’s Services Librarian Maria Simon and others was a story that could have an
unhappy ending for libraries. A story of a 50-percent cut in state funding that threatens the sanctuary
others were enjoying inside as they spoke.
About 100 people gathered outside the library to rally against the cuts included in Gov. Ted Strickland’s
budget proposal.
Library Director Elaine Paulette conceded Strickland has a tough job in balancing the state’s budget, and
libraries have borne their share, sustaining a 20-percent reduction in state money already.
The proposed deeper cut that is only in Strickland’s budget, she said, threatens the existence of local
public libraries.
That was echoed by Shelen Stevens, the library director in Weston. Her library and the branch in Grand
Rapids closed today so people could participate in the Bowling Green rally. But those closures could
become permanent if the cuts go through.
Libraries, Stevens said, provide more than books and magazines and DVDs. They provide a sense of
community. She recalled how on Sept. 11, 2001, people came to the library “so they didn’t have to watch
the news alone.”
She told those at the rally: “Now’s the time to stand up and say how much your public library means to
A message, Paulette said, should be addressed “respectfully” to the governor’s office as well as state
Several other people were on hand to say just what libraries meant to them.
Ally Haas, a sixth grader from Conneaut Elementary, said the library not only helped her, but gave her
the chance to help others. She volunteers through the summer buddies program helping other students with
reading and math.
Betty Winslow said that the library serves her needs, and those of all ages in the community children who
attend story time, teenagers who fine a “safe place to congregate,” senior citizens who enjoy free
The cuts, she said, will be felt in “every county in Ohio.”
Cliff Boutelle said: “Our library is indeed a community treasure.”
Recalling the old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease, Boutelle said: “We need to do more
than squeak, we need to roar. If they don’t hear us the budget cuts will continue.”
Among those attending the rally were Bowling Green senior Joshua Underwood and Adam Aller and Anna
Wetzel, both of whom just graduated from the high school.
“I’ve gone to the library all my life,” Wetzel said.
The teenagers said they’d used the library to find reading, a quiet place to work and somewhere they
could gather to work on projects.
“It’s a resource,” Underwood said.

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