Lib Politics Rodeo August 26, 2014

Welcome to the Lib Politics Rodeo. Every Tuesday we will round up the previous week’s news on library politics and highlight some of the things that we are following or reading. Here’s what we have in our lassos this week…

Welcome to the Lib Politics Rodeo. Every Tuesday we will round up the previous week’s news on library politics and highlight some of the things that we are following or reading. Here’s what we have in our lassos this week…


There’s a lot happening on the political front in library land- hold on tight, here we go!

Today is election day in Jacksonville Florida where we are supporting them with a $1,000 donation to help get the word out about the straw poll that would put a measure for a funding district on their 2016 ballot. They have suffered a 41% cut to the library budget over the last 10 years and stable funding is necessary to keep the doors open and the staffing levels at capacity.

It  is also election day in Muskogee (OK) and a $1.3 million library bond issue is on the ballot. The 10-year series bond issue will not raise taxes, and the revenue generated from the bond will be put towards improving the library’s technology, improving security and building renovations.

An update on the James Memorial Library tax- we last reported that the results of the August 5th election in St. James (MO) were being contested due to voters accidentally receiving out-of-city ballots without the library tax measure on election day. The Circuit Court Judge has now ordered the results be tossed and there will be a special election held on September 30th for solely the library tax issue.

Many library issues are making their way onto November 4th general election ballots across the country. The Sunbury Community Library (OH) will place a 5-year, 1-mil operating levy renewal on the November 4th ballot. It is a renewal of a levy that was supported by the community in 2009 and will help fund library staff, materials and programs and will continue the library’s funding without the need to increase taxes.

Bloomfield Township Public Library (MI) is seeking a 10 year levy of up to .5410 mills to restore its funding to the 2008 level and add an additional 2.216 mills. Last week, the library asked the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees to approve the ballot language for the millage proposal to appear on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. Approximately 93% of the library’s funding comes from property taxes, and since the recession, the library’s property tax revenue has decreased by $1.3 million, resulting in massive cuts in services, resources and staff hours.

Back in February, we reported that City Council in Johnson County (WY) chose not to approve of putting a sixth penny tax on a 2014 ballot to fund a library expansion project at that time. Last week, however, Johnson County Commissioners  and Buffalo City Council passed resolutions to approve a special one-cent tax for the library expansion project to be placed on the November 4th ballot. They approved of the ballot language proposed to them by the Johnson County Library board asking for a one-cent sales tax ballot totalling approximately $3.8 million.

Last week, Norfolk City Council (NE) officially authorized a half-cent sales tax increase to be placed on the November 4th ballot for the Norfolk Public Library. We reported in the August 12th Rodeo that Norfolk had to sign an agreement with Madison County before it was official- they did, and the agreement was also passed by City Council. If passed, the tax will be put toward a big renovation project to add an addition to the library and will begin in 2015.

Addison Township Public Library (MI) is looking to place another millage on the November 4th ballot after their loss in the August 5th primary election. The millage they ask for will be lowered to 0.20 mills from 0.25 mills, and was approved by trustees on August 12th.

The District Board of Trustees of the Lemont Public Library (IL) voted to submit a referendum that will ask voters to approve funding a $2.8 million renovation project on the Nov. 4th ballot. The library will now wait for approval from Cook County before the referendum is added to the ballot.

Falmouth Town Council has been discussing the details of proposed $2.8 million library bond for the Falmouth Memorial Library (ME) that they hope will appear on the November 4th ballot. Town council wants their to be more public input before they approve it for the ballot, inviting voters to attend their next meeting to discuss the proposed ballot language.

The Jackson County (WA) Library District Board has voted to decrease the property tax amount that residents pay to the library from 0.60 cents/thousand feet of assessed property to 0.52, thus allowing the District to tax less than the maximum tax rate. The library is adjusting the rate due to more clarity in the operating costs of the library.

The Kinderhook Memorial Library (NY) is seeking to put a referendum on the Nov. 4th ballot to increase the annual revenue they receive from the towns of Kinderhook and Stuyvesant. They are hoping for an additional $765 from Stuyvesant and $5,415 from Kinderhook which will go towards the approximated $350,000 operating budget and upgrades to the library website in 2015. The Kinderhook Memorial Library is currently circulating petitions in the two towns to get voter support for the referendum so it can be placed on the ballot.

EveryLibrary Happenings

The next few weeks bring the opportunity for you to hang out with some EveryLibrary folk! This week, board member Peter Bromberg is in Denver, CO as a resident expert at LibraryJournal’s “Lead the Change: Engaging Your Community- Colorado ” workshop. EveryLibrary will be hosting a meet-up on Thursday, August 28th for anyone in the Denver area. Details here.

Next week, EveryLibrary board member Erica Findley and executive director John Chrastka will be at ASRL in Tacoma, WA and will be hosting a meet-up on the evening of September 3rd. Join them for a few drinks after the pre-conference sessions. Details for the event can be found here.

That’s all for today. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!