By Aimee Hancock
PIQUA — The non-profit organization known as The Friends of the Piqua Public Library (FPPL) kicked off a campaign this week in support of the Piqua Public Library’s 1.8-mill levy request set to appear on the ballot this May.
“One of our missions is to be advocates for the library, and that does include fundraising, programming, and many things,” said FPPL Board President Ruth Koon. “When (the levy renewal) was presented to us, as to if we wanted to be chairman of this important levy, we all unanimously agreed it was something we wanted to do.”
The Piqua Public Library is requesting voters approve the renewal of the 1.3-mill levy, which has been in place with no increases for 10 years, as well as an additional .5-mill, for a total request of 1.8 mill. This .5-mill increase in the levy is to cover cost increases, according to FPPL Treasurer Susan Haas.
This 1.8-mill levy, if approved, would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $57.31 per year, or 16 cents per day, Haas said.
According to Koon, since its first approval 10 years ago, the levy has gone toward operational expenses for the library, including books, utilities, and salaries. The library currently employs 26 full- and part-time staff members, and is open 57 hours per week.
Koon highlighted the library’s role in the Piqua community, noting that the library is a place for all residents, whether they have a library card or not.
“Citizens can access state unemployment sites, which is very important right now, job sites, state benefit and health sites, all for free,” she said.
The library also serves as a refuge for residents during very high or very low outdoor temperatures, Koon said.
The library’s offerings include many programs for residents ranging in age from preschool to senior citizens, printer usage, access to tax forms and voter registration, a local history room, and free meeting and civic space in the historic Fort Piqua Plaza building.
“I think (the library) is almost a historical visit for people who either have lived here, or left and come back,” said FPPL Board Secretary Joyce Jenkins.
Throughout 2019, there were a total of 100,000 visits to the library. In the same year, there were just under 12,000 computer users, and 2,400 visitors to the history room.