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Cleveland Public Library to slash its budget by $6 million due to COVID-19 impact

The plan includes a hiring freeze, curtailing collections spending, and utilizing the library’s unencumbered fund

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Public Library is taking significant cost-saving measures to offset a decrease in state funding and tax revenue due to COVID-19.

The library system will be implementing a $6 million cost reduction plan, that includes a hiring freeze, curtailing collections spending, and utilizing the library’s unencumbered fund.

Additionally, Cleveland Public Library submitted a SharedWork Ohio application to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on May 1, which if approved would allow employees to remain employed with reduced hours while allowing the library to trim costs to account for revenue losses and disruptions to operations. 

If accepted, Cleveland Public Library would save $2.3 million through SharedWork.

“This is a difficult time for everyone. The decisions we make today will have a direct impact on the library’s future. After much discussion with our staff and leadership, we believe SharedWork is the best option for us to avoid layoffs,” said Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library.

Cleveland Public Library is funded by the state’s Public Library Fund (PLF) and city property taxes. The Library anticipates the PLF will be reduced by at least 20 percent and property taxes could experience a 10 percent drop.

“We continue to look for ways to save money without hurting operations at Cleveland Public Library. Our goal is to ensure the Library and staff will be here for our patrons who rely on us for programs and services,” Thomas said.

The library system closed in-person operations to the public on March 13 to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Cleveland Public Library is still offering services online including this year’s summer reading program, Summer Lit League, which is scheduled to kick off on June 1. 

Visit cpl.org for storytime and resources related to COVID-19, career help, small business assistance, social services, and educational activities.

Founded in 1869, Cleveland Public Library serves the residents of Cleveland through its network of 27 neighborhood branches, the Main Library downtown, Public Administration Library at City Hall, homebound delivery services, and mobile services to daycare and senior centers. 

From a collection of 10.5 million items, the Library lends over 5 million items a year to its 330,000 registered borrowers and to 43 other CLEVNET-member libraries in 12 counties across Northeast Ohio. 

Cleveland Public Library is home to the Ohio Center for the Book and the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled, serving all 88 counties in the state of Ohio.

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