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Cleveland Public Library Cutting $6 Million From Budget Due To Pandemic

The Cleveland Public Library has been closed to the public since March 13. [Gayle S. Putrich / ideastream]
The front of the Cleveland Public Library main branch

The Cleveland Public Library will freeze hiring and take other cost-saving measures to offset the anticipated coronavirus-related funding loss.

CPL also will restrict spending on its collections and tap into its unencumbered fund, according to a press release. The changes will cut an estimated $6 million from the budget.

The library has also applied for SharedWork Ohio through the state Department of Job and Family Services, which would allow the library to continue employing workers, with reduced hours. CPL estimates it could save $2.3 million through the program.

“After much discussion with our staff and leadership, we believe SharedWork is the best option for us to avoid layoffs,” CPL Executive Director and CEO Felton Thomas said in the release.

CPL is funded through the state’s library fund and Cleveland property tax revenue, and is expecting losses of at least 20 percent in state funding and 10 percent of city funding.

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

Libraries in Ohio have been closed since mid-March, and many are facing similar financial difficulties. The Cuyahoga County Public Library opted to furlough or lay off 300 of its employees late last month.

Though not fully open, some libraries are offering limited services through the stay-at-home order. Many, including CPL, are providing access to the research desk by phone and providing online access to materials. The Lakewood Public Library began offering limited curbside and drive-up service Monday.

CPL declined ideastream’s request for an interview.