Ohio Cuts Library Services Statewide

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- There was a time when people primarily used the library as a place to just check out books.

Today, libraries are a valuable resource for everything from books and movies to Internet use and entertainment. But, just when usage is reaching its highest levels, Ohio is facing its toughest cuts. Those cuts are hurting those who need the services the most.

Summertime at Kids World Daycare Center in Wheelersburg means plenty of playtime for school-age children on summer break.
But, they also enjoy plenty of learning time -- some of it provided by the Portsmouth Public Library.

“We blew up Mentos in diet soda in soda bottles,” said Cheyenne Rowe, a 5th grader.

Cheyenne is talking about a summer favorite called Wacky Science Day.

“It inspires kids to fall in love with science in a way that’s so magical to watch,” said Tammy Skeens, director of Kids World Daycare Center.

“Last year, I was going to the 4th grade and I was really excited about what I was going to learn in science class,” Cheyenne said.

But, this educational outreach is about to end in Scioto County -- a victim of the budget cuts.

“Our children are our future, and we need to invest in them" Skeens said. "Some of these children don’t have books at home and the only exposure they get is through the programs the library brings to them.”

“It’s tough because our usage is at an all-time high, and folks really rely on the services we provide,” said Beverly Cain, director of the Portsmouth Public Library System.

“I live here,” said Susan Wellman, a library patron.

She spends just about every day at the New Boston branch library. During her time of unemployment, it's been her lifeline.

“I can’t afford the Internet because I live on a limited budget," she said. "So, when people like me come here, we’re able to go into the World Wide Web and find jobs not just locally, but also regionally,” Susan said.

The new hours and changes take effect next week.

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