Williams said if the levy passes the library will be able to restore some of the open hours at the various branches.
"We hope to open our homebound program to new applicants (if the levy passes,)" Williams said.
The library's homebound program is currently suspended to new applicants due to current funding situation.
"Our materials budget is $150,000. Our materials budget has not been that low since 1986. We are cut to the limit right now," Williams said. "(If the levy passes) we would hope to increase the materials budget to buy more books, audio CDs, Internet resources and various other things."
"We had to eliminate a lot of programs with recent budget cuts. If the levy passes we would hope to increase the amount of outreach programming that we offer to at-risk children and other at-risk populations," Williams said.
"In 2009, the Portsmouth Public Library system circulated over 500,000 items. That is seven items for each person in Scioto County. Last year, we had over 64,000 Internet sessions. In 2009, we offered over 1,000 children's programs, serving over 25,000 children," Williams said. "This year, based on estimates, we anticipate over 300,000 people to walk through library doors."
Williams said the first thing the library would have to do if the levy passes is hire more people. "We had to eliminate 17 staff positions last year. We will not hire that many people back, but we will have to have some people, trained and in place before some of this can happen," Williams said. "Even if we stayed with the current budget we are on, the state Office of Budget and Management has told us to expect, due to the economy, a 10 percent cut next year and another 10 percent the next year," Williams said. "Just looking at a 10 percent cut, and the increase in fuel prices and materials. What will likely happen is that we would have to further decrease our hours open, which could possibly mean closing some of the branches and cutting or eliminating other services."
Williams said it would be questionable if the bookmobile would continue.
Williams said there has been some confusion when it comes to the levy. "The library system is a county library system. The name Portsmouth Public Library has been that name since 1879. People in the county are not realizing they can vote on it.
"When we tell people all of Scioto County can vote on this they are pleased that they can have input into their library system," Williams said. "The feedback we've been getting is very good. There are some people who have expressed concerns about the levy being a new tax. It is, and we are not trying to hide that."
According to Williams, if your home is valued at $100,000 the 1-mill levy would cost $31 a year.
"There are a lot of businesses, a lot of organizations a lot of things that have left Scioto County. The shining light is the Portsmouth Library and all of its locations. This library system has been a shining light in this community that needs to have some hope," Williams said. "The library can offer hope to people, to learn about jobs, to better educate themselves and to find more information. We pride ourselves on being a community partner."
The Portsmouth Public Library Levy has received endorsements from both the Scioto County Democratic and Republican parties.
For more information about the Portsmouth Public Library Levy, visit www.supportyourlibrary.net or visit the levy headquarters on Chillicothe Street in downtown Portsmouth.