Libraries create millions in value for their communities

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The libraries in Wood County generated $35.5 million in economic value in 2017. Wood County District Public Library Director Michael Penrod presented those figures to trustees at their meeting Monday morning. That figure was a local update of a report originally commissioned by the Ohio Library Council in 2016. The update was done by Woodlink, which brings together the county’s the eight library systems. Those libraries provided just over $8 million worth of services in the year, and the direct return on investment was $3.44 for every dollar’s worth of services, or $27.7 million in direct return on investment. The multiplier reflects the impact of the money patrons save by using library services and how that flows through the economy. That brings the amount to $35.5 million. The report looks only at the impact of services provided, not money spent, such as salaries. The eight library systems in the county, in addition to Wood County District, which has a branch in Walbridge, are: Pemberville Public, which operates branches in Luckey and Stony Ridge; Kaubisch Memorial in Fostoria; North Baltimore Public; Rossford Public; Way Public in Perrysburg; and Weston, which operates a branch in Grand Rapids. Penrod said it is important that the library seek donations as well as tax dollars. The Library Foundation provides a large financial boost with the money it raises at a summer benefit held at Schedel Arboretum & Gardens. Penrod encouraged the trustees to promote the event in the community. The 10th Annual Library Benefit will be held Thursday, July 19. Tickets are $100. Last year it raised $100,000. That money is used to purchase books – in all forms, Penrod said. He said that the money does not replace money from the state or raised by the library’s levy, but supplements those dollars, allowing the library to spend more than the average amount on materials. The event features a live and silent auction. It is not, Penrod said, an event where people come expecting to find a bargain at auction, but rather expect to pay a premium as a way to show their support for the library. Trustees John Fawcett said he’ heard from a couple people that they wished there were lesser priced fundraising options included, such as a lottery where everyone who buys a ticket has an equal chance. Board President Brian Paskvan said that could be taken under advisement for next year. Also Penrod said that he’s seen no noticeable change in the state support checks, he’s received. The state support for public libraries is based on a percentage of tax receipts, and those have been increasing.

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Citizens ask Latta to stop deportation of ‘dreamers’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two months ago, Beatriz Maya sat in U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s office waiting for answers on where the congressman stands on deporting “dreamers.” She is still waiting. Maya, executive director of La Conexion, was back in Latta’s Bowling Green office on Monday, this time asking to show the congressman the economic and human side of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.) She and eight others delivered a letter encouraging Latta to talk to local employers who can’t find enough workers to fill jobs, and to families who are at risk of being torn apart. “If he hears their personal stories, we are confident that he will get a different story than what he is hearing in Washington,” she said. Maya wants Latta to meet the local young man who grew up in Wood County, learned carpentry at Penta Career Center, and now works for Rudolph-Libbe. He has no criminal record, yet he is at risk of being deported. “There is nothing you can find in him that would warrant deportation,” she said. Earlier this fall, President Donald Trump announced he would end the DACA program in six months if Congress doesn’t find a more permanent solution. Since it was enacted under President Barack Obama, about 800,000 immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. illegally have received protections from the program. DACA allows young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation and to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses. Many of the “dreamers” have been here since they were babies, and America is the only country they know. Those signing up for DACA must show that they have clean criminal records. Their status is renewable every two years. Bowling Green’s city administration has voiced its support of DACA, and has proclaimed the city as a welcoming place for immigrants. But when asked about his stance in September, the local citizens were told that Latta was waiting to make a decision until Speaker Paul Ryan’s task force had studied the issue. When the question was repeated on Monday, Latta’s aide Tim Bosserman said he had not discussed it with the congressman. “But nothing has happened. We are running out of time. We have thousands of dreamers waiting for a solution,” Maya said. Maya fears that Congress will do nothing. “So they are basically waiting for the time to pass, so it expires.” Maya offered to help acquaint Latta with the local effect of DACA, so he doesn’t have to wait on the congressional task force. “We can facilitate that if he’s willing to do that,” she said. “We cannot tolerate this inaction. He’s our representative.” Yvette Llanas, a lifelong Bowling Green resident, agreed that Latta needs to be responsive to his constituents. “He should have some interaction with us,” Llanas said. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has publicly said he doesn’t want the U.S. to deport DACA residents. “But we’re not getting any help from this office,” Llanas told Latta’s aide. The congressman has not even issued a statement about his stand on the issue, she added. Llanas has a personal interest in the future of “dreamers.” Her son is married to an undocumented woman who was brought to the…

At BGSU, Clarence Page reflects on Middletown & “Hillbilly Elegy”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Clarence Page is a story teller. That’s what all good journalists are, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner said. On Thursday at Bowling Green State University, though, he reflected on someone else’s story, J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Vance’s book has been selected as the university’s Common Read. Page was invited to BGSU to discuss Vance’s book. Meant to bring everyone together to read the same book and spark discussion, this year’s selection has done the trick. Social media is full of commentary on the book, and even its appropriateness as the Common Read. “Hillbilly Elegy” arrived at the same time as Donald Trump was elected to office, and many reviewers touted it as the book to read if you wanted to understand Trump voters. Vance takes a hard look at his people, who feel displaced in America and are plagued by dysfunctional families and unemployment. This demographic is the most pessimistic of any in the country.  Poor whites are more pessimistic than poor blacks. “Maybe because we’re used to it.” Page, who like Vance comes from Middletown, Ohio, said the book gave him a look at what was happening on the white side of town. Page noted he started out as “colored,” and has been a Negro, black, African-American, before now being a person of color. His family, he said, was “po’” because, according to his father, they were too poor to afford the “or.” But, he added, “ we were rich in spirit.” Page, 70, said he’s told Vance that save for the difference in age and race, it could be his story. But there were differences. Unlike Vance who chronicles a difficult family life, Page said his family was boring, a quality he’s come to appreciate as he’s gotten older. Like Vance’s grandfather, Page’s family moved north from the south to work in northern industry. Page’s people were part of the Great Migration that brought blacks north by rail seeking an escape from the segregated south and seeking greater opportunities. And Page remembers the lure of the railroad, looking down the tracks imagining an escape from Middletown. He succeeded in large part because of what he learned there.  He wanted to be an astronaut but his vision, “being four-eyed” ended that dream. But he was also captivated by seeing the reporters during a whistle stop in the 1960 campaign by then presidential candidate Richard Nixon. Others watched the vice president; Page had his eyes on the press. The high school newspaper advisor Mary Kindell recruited him for her staff. “Bless her heart, she saw some talent in me.” He did it to meet girls, but he found “I was pretty good at it. I enjoyed it.” He liked meeting people. He liked telling stories.  “What was important was somebody had faith in me.” When he won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1989, a former classmate called him to write a profile, and that sent Page back to the yearbook where he discovered Mrs. Kindell had written: “Remember me when you win your first Pulitzer. Don’t forget.” He looked up her number and called to remind her. She said he always had faith in him. He went on to Ohio University where, as he told…

Global Detroit leader to speak on immigrant & the economy

Building Global: Welcoming Immigrants and Economic Growth, a conversation with Steve Tobocman, of Global Detroit, will be presented Thursday November 2, 2017, 6-7:30 p.m. in the  Atrium of the Wood County Public Library, Bowling Green. Since 2009,  Tobocman has spearheaded Global Detroit,, and led the creation and growth of the Welcoming Economies Global Network , a regional Network of over a dozen regional economic development initiatives from across the Midwest working to address critical labor shortages and economic revitalization needs by tapping into the economic development opportunities created by immigrants as valued contributors to local economies. Tobocman served as the State Representative from Michigan 12th State House focusing his work on economic development. He earned his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School and a Masters in Public Policy from U of M’s Ford School of Public Policy. Event organized by the City of Bowling Green Human Relations Commission, the Welcome BG Task Force, the Bowling Green Economic Development, and the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. Opening remarks by Mayor Edwards.