In 2009, the Cuyahoga County Public Library dealt with a $14 million shortfall prompted by state budget cuts by reducing staff, increasing late fines, slashing money used for purchasing books and other materials and closing most branch locations on Sunday.
The downward funding trend looks likely to continue. Gov. John Kasich's two-year budget proposal, released earlier this week, would continue cutting state public library funding by 5 percent in 2012 and 2013. Statewide, cuts could total more than $160 million over the two years.
The Cuyahoga County Library receives about 30 percent of its funding from the state, said spokesman Robert Rua. How the system, which includes a branch in Solon, deals with the possibility of less state money this year and next is still unknown. What will happen at individual branch locations – the system serves nearly 50 communities and has 28 buildings – is even more fuzzy.
"There are still unanswered questions," Rua said. "This is a time when public libraries are busier than ever, so it does put us in a tight spot.
"For now, we'll see what unfolds," he added. "There's too many unknowns."
While most branches were closed on Sunday during the 2009 and 2010 budget years, the Beachwood branch remained open on Sundays.