A Countywide Resource
In 2013, the Brumback Library marked its 112th year of service to
the residents of Van Wert County. The Library’s Board of Trustees, Director, Staff, and Volunteers are truly honored to have played an active role in this
vital community institution which has continued to witness growth and development as it meets the varied needs of patrons of all ages.
To illustrate this point, over 28,000 library users borrowed 789,350
print and nonprint items from our collection in 2013. Books, ebooks, books
on CD, DVDs, videotapes, and a number of other items comprise a collection
of over 235,000 works. More than 7,800 volumes were added to the reference and circulating collections within the past year, and nearly 1,900 of these items were donated.
Between our six buildings and active homebound service, the primary
goal of our 176 hours per week service schedule is to ensure accessibility
to safe, clean, welcoming environments where patrons may avail themselves
to a myriad of up-to-date materials and technology. To meet this goal, building maintenance continued throughout the year. Painting projects, minor repair
work, and on-going preventive work was the norm. This was particularly
true at Main Library.
Despite continuous increases in usage as well as larger work loads and responsibilities, the Library’s income has declined, especially in regard to
funding from the State of Ohio. The Local Library Government Support
Fund, otherwise known as the LLGSF, was frozen and then cut for many
years. With the establishment of the Public Library Fund (PLF), further
erosion of overall funding has occurred. The downturn in the economy in
2008 accelerated over the next several years to further challenge the Library’s ability to offer the services and resources which Van Wert residents have
come to know and expect. Thus, over the course of the past twelve years,
the Brumback Library, like Ohio’s 250 other public libraries, has witnessed
many major cuts and funding freezes. To make ends meet, we have reduced
our staff size from 25 employees in 1992 to 14 1/2 employees in January
2014. Our staff has received three salary cuts as well as salary freezes, while
the Director has voluntarily taken five salary reductions since 2002. In addition,
he voluntarily froze his salary in 2009 and it will not increase until
2017. A slight decrease in hours of operation and purchases of print
and nonprint materials has likewise occurred. Nevertheless, the Library
has done more with less.
A perusal of the Brumback Library’s circulation and usage statistics
reveal that both adult and children make use of the Library. Our Growing
with Books Program, which began in 1995, has continued to present all
infants born at Van Wert County Hospital with their first book and an
information packet for their parents. The Library’s Annual Summer
Reading Program seeks to encourage all infants, toddlers, preschoolers,
and elementary school children to read, discover, and explore the world
around them via a series of programs and events throughout June and
July. Marking its 98th year in 2013, this vital endeavor is underwritten
in part by a number of businesses and donors whose support is crucial in
carrying out this much anticipated slate of activities. Young Adult, Adult,
and Homebound Summer Reading Programs are offered too. Our goal
is to encourage all of these patrons and participants to engage in lifelong
We have, and continue to be, good, frugal stewards of the funds
entrusted to us. Needless to say, the financial support of Van Wert County residents is both essential and most gratefully appreciated. The funds from
the half-mill countywide levy have helped the Library tremendously. Our
print and nonprint collection continues to be updated and, as previously
stated, our facilities are indeed well maintained. We use a proactive
approach in all that we do. While there are public libraries that have much
larger incomes than our library, and others which are able to save large
sums of money due to fewer demands for their services and resources,
the Brumback Library has a most admirable record. Serving the majority
of the County’s residents, we are the county library. Whether a patron
wants a book, an ebook, music on CD, downloadable tunes, puppets,
or numerous other items, the place to find them is here at the Brumback Library. Young, middle aged, or senior citizens will find a plethora of informational, recreational, and research materials on our shelves. The
Library exists as a center of learning for all of Van Wert County. It is
our hope that everyone will avail themselves to our services.
Again Among Nation’s Best
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
For the third straight year, the Brumback Library has been recognized as one of the best in the country.
Brumback Library was named as one of America's Star Libraries by Library Journal, one of 32 Ohio libraries to receive a star designation.
In comparison to libraries with similar budget and funding levels in its respective category, the Brumback Library was ranked eighth in the nation and first in Ohio. For this honor, the Brumback Library was given a four-star rating. Last year, the library also received a four-star rating and in 2011 was given a three-star honor.
"These rankings clearly demonstrate that the resources, service, and programming efforts the Brumback Library provides are well-utilized by Van Wert County residents of all ages," remarked Brumback Library Director John Carr.
The Brumback Library is one of two libraries in the state to receive a four-star rating, the other being the Loudonville Public Library. Three-star recognition went to New Carlisle Public Library, Orrville Public Library, and Habor-Topky Memorial Library.
The 2013 rankings, which are based on 2011 statistics, give star status to 263 public libraries, with 32 in Ohio. Libraries are rated by Library Journal on their performance within categories determined by operating expenditures. Performance is then measured and points awarded in circulation, library visits, program attendance, and public use of the Internet. The number of stars received is based on the total points earned.
More than 26,000 county residents are registered library card holders. In 2011, the library expanded services to include access to e-books, downloadable videos, audios, and music through the Ohio Ebook Project, bringing in more patrons.
In 2012, library patrons checked out more than 739,000 items. Between the main library and the five branch facilities, the Brumback Library's collection is more then 228,000 items.
"The library offers a service schedule of 179.5 hours per week," said Joan Stripe, president of the Brumback Library Board of Trustees. "While there are public libraries that have much larger incomes than we have, and others that are smaller and able to save large sums of money due to fewer demands for their services, the Brumback Library has an admirable record indeed. We have and continue to be good frugal stewards of the funds entrusted to us."
Over the past 11 years, the Brumback Library, like the state's other 250 public libraries, has experienced many funding freezes and major funding cuts. As a result staff reductions, a slight decrease in hours of operation, cuts in salaries, and limited reductions in purchasing some materials have occurred.
"While many libraries have cut hours and services greatly, the Brumback Library sought to minimize such cuts by reducing staff size and the like. In fact, the library presently serves larger numbers of people, many from area communities whose libraries' hours of operation and purchases of print and non-print items were severely cut," Stripe added.
The 0.5 mill levy which was approved by county voters in 2005 and renewed in 2010 has helped greatly. Although it has not fully compensated for all the state funding cuts, it has helped the Brumback Library keep its services and resources at the level county residents have come to expect.
"We are truly grateful for the support of Van Wert County's residents in passing the aforementioned levies," Carr noted. "Such funds are indeed vital and are truly appreciated. The doors of Main Library and the library's branches in Convoy, Middle Point, Ohio City, Willshire, and Wren are open to one and all. The Brumback Library remains a center of lifelong learning for Van Wert County residents of all ages."