Many of the choices voters must make on election ballots are difficult. But on Nov. 5, many Belmont Countians will face an easy decision - to support library services in several communities.
On the ballot that day will be a proposed property tax levy for the Belmont County District Library.
If the name is not one you recognize, there is a good reason. The BCDL is a relatively new name for an old network, centered on the Martins Ferry Public Library. It includes that facility and branches in Bridgeport, Shadyside, Powhatan Point, Bethesda and Flushing.
Public libraries throughout Ohio have suffered from cuts in state funding. According to BCDL Director Yvonne Meyers, the district's budget has been reduced by 35 percent during the past few years.
That has forced some cuts in library services, including shorter service hours at some locations.
To reverse some of the changes and ensure the library system offers a level of services patrons want and need, a tax levy is being proposed. If approved by voters, it would be a 1-mill tax for a period of five years.
That would be a bargain for those living in the library district. Under the new levy, the owner of a home valued at $50,000 would pay less than $1.50 a month in new taxes.
Libraries remain important to both children and adults. They provide both information and recreation through book and periodical collections. In addition, many have special programs.
In addition, a significant number of people rely on libraries for access to the Internet.
Again, in terms of what the public pays for libraries, the benefits are enormous. That makes the decision on Nov. 5 an easy one. Thoughtful voters will say yes to the library levy proposal.