The Library receives almost all of its funds, over 97% of its revenue, from the State of Ohio in the form of a portion of the Public Library Fund (PLF). The PLF receives money according to a formula described in law, rather than as an appropriation by the legislature. Beginning in July, 2015, the PLF is funded by 1.7% of the state’s General Revenue Fund (GRF); the GRF is supplied mostly by the income and sales taxes, with some additional revenue from various use taxes and fees. The State allocates PLF money to each county based on a distribution formula established in the 1980s, and then the County Budget Commission in each county divides up the money among the various libraries in that county based on locally agreed upon methods. Thus, the PLF funds library service to all Ohioans, but does not fund any particular public library directly. The service area of Minerva Public Library is described by the boundaries of the Minerva Local School District and includes portions of Carroll, Columbiana, and Stark Counties; therefore the library receives PLF money from three counties.
In each of the three counties, PLF money is divided among the libraries in that county using different criteria. In Carroll County there is a long-standing agreement that the PLF money will be divided respectively between Carroll County District Library, Minerva Public Library, and Bowerstown Public Library in a 70-20-10 split. For over the past 20 years in Columbiana County, Minerva PL has received a very small fixed percentage of that County’s PLF distribution.
In Stark County there are seven public libraries, of which the largest by far is Stark County District Library. The distribution formula was first agreed to by representatives of the seven libraries in the mid-1980s and was first used to allocate the County’s library money for the 1987 distribution year. After much discussion, the formula was revised in the fall of 2012. The formula uses six data points reported by each library each year to the County Auditor’s office: total square footage of heated space used by the library; total number of full-time-equivalent staff; total dollar amount spent on library materials and technology; total number of library cardholders plus total population of the library’s legal service area; total annual circulation of library materials; and total annual visits to the library plus total visits from outside the library to the library’s homepage. Each data point is rendered for each library as a factor or percentage of the total value of that data point for all seven libraries. For example, Minerva’s total circulation in 2011 was 320,870 and the total circulation for libraries in Stark County was 6,869,432; dividing Minerva’s circulation by the total county circulation produces a factor of 4.67711071. Each library’s six factors, or percentages, are then averaged to produce each library’s single multiplier for that current data year. Each library’s current data year multiplier is then averaged with that library’s three most recent distribution multipliers to produce the distribution multiplier that determines that library’s share of the local PLF money in the coming year. The formula is re-calculated each summer to apply to the coming year’s distribution. For example, the 2012 distribution factor was calculated in the summer of 2011 using data from the preceding year, 2010, to create the 2011 multiplier, and then averaging that 2011 multiplier with distribution multipliers that had been created in a similar fashion in 2010, 2009, and 2008 for use in 2011, 2010, and 2009.
Updated July 17, 2015