Cleveland Public Library Faces Revenue Loss Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Cleveland Public Library is taking cost-saving measures to offset a decrease in state funding and tax revenue due to COVID-19.

The $6 million cost reduction plan includes a hiring freeze, curtailing collections spending, and utilizing the Library’s unencumbered fund.

Additionally, Cleveland Public Library submitted a SharedWork Ohio application to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on May 1. If approved, SharedWork would allow employees to remain employed with reduced hours while allowing the Library to trim costs to account for revenue losses and disruptions to operations. Cleveland Public Library would save $2.3 million through SharedWork.

“This is a difficult time for everyone. The decisions we make today will have a direct impact on the Library’s future. After much discussion with our staff and leadership, we believe SharedWork is the best option for us to avoid layoffs,” said Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library.

Cleveland Public Library is funded by the state’s Public Library Fund (PLF) and city property taxes. The Library anticipates the PLF will be reduced by at least 20% and property taxes could experience a 10% drop.

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

The Library closed to the public on March 13 to help prevent the spread of the virus. Cleveland Public Library is still offering services online including this year’s summer reading program, Summer Lit League scheduled to kick off on June 1. Visit for storytime and resources related to COVID-19, career help, small business assistance, social services, and educational activities.