The Girard Free Library wants voters this November to approve an additional 1.5-mill continuing operating levy.
If approved, the levy would provide the library with an additional $218,694 a year that would help it remain independent of the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library system, library officials said. The levy would cost $45.94 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
"This is going to help them keep the library doors open and help keep the library in Girard as a Girard entity, where the public has control over its library," said Linda McKernan, member of the Girard Political Action Committee.
The committee began discussing a levy about eight months ago following years of funding cuts from the state.
According to library Director Rose Ann Lubert, the library has lost more than $350,000 in state funding over the past three years, which has led to staff layoffs and a decrease in hours of operation.
"We're anticipating more cuts, but that hasn't been determined yet," Lubert said.
The appearance of the levy on the ballot marks the first time in its 90-year history that the library has asked for help from the public, she said.
"It's just a domino effect. We've struggled without the funds," Lubert said.
If the levy is not approved, the library could face additional downsizing or even lose its status as an independent association, Lubert said.
Although funding will still be available through the state, private donations, fundraisers and other sources, McKernan said it may not be enough.
"The downside of this thing not passing is (going to be) monumental," she said.
Voters in Girard last approved a levy in 2007, when a 9-mill bond levy appeared on the ballot for the new Girard Junior Senior High School.