Lib Politics Rodeo December 16th, 2013
Every Monday 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.
In the news:
First, the good news. Last Saturday residents of Scituate (MA) approved a debt exclusion override of 12 million dollars to expand and renovate their public library. There was a 10% voter turnout and this was the only measure on the ballot. It passed by 72%, a landslide. This means that the residents will pay for about 5 million of the total 12 million with a property tax over the next 20 years. According to an earlier story, the expansion will add several meeting rooms, a multimedia lab, a children’s story room and a job-seeker resource center.
Another measure passed last Saturday in Irondequoit (IL). 64% voted yes on a proposal to expand the public library. The 13 million dollar bond will go toward a new 60,000 square foot public library that will combine two branches.
It is near the end of the year and we are starting to look forward in to next year. In February there will be a special election in Winfield (KS). Voters will decide whether to use a new sales tax to fund improvements to the library building. More revenue will be collected than what is needed and the remainder would go towards funding other capitol projects in the city. In May residents of Elyria (OH) will decide on a 1.9-mill levy that will bring tax revenue up in all areas of Elyria. A state law was passed in 2012 that presented double taxation by the library and has impacted their base funding. Elyria shares some residents with the Grafton public library system. Currently, some areas pay less than the 1.9-mill and others do not pay any taxes toward the library at all. The San Jose (CA) city council voted this week to draft a library ballot measure. This measure would renew the library tax that was approved in 2004 and is set to expire in 2015. It will be on the ballot in either June or November of next year. Finally the Manchester District Library (MI) is seeking a renewal of their operating millage next November.
In other news, San Diego City (CA) Council members have been dismissing an ordinance each year that would put up to 6 percent of the city’s operating budget toward libraries. Each year the funding has been put toward something else due to an option that allows for dismissal. Library supporters are demanding that the money be put aside going forward now that we are coming out of the recession. Library hours have been slashed over the past 10 years and only about 3% of the operating budget goes toward libraries.
There's some good news to end with this week. In Northern Hollywood (CA) the public library will now be open 7 days per week thanks to an increase in funding from 2011. The library will now be open on Sundays. We see this as a good case study for the positive impact of these library ballot measures.
Don't forget to join us in April for a month long course via Library Juice Academy. This course is designed to help library staff and citizen committees plan and execute effective info-only and GOTV work for their library measure. It will be held online through LJA and have both synchronous and asynch work focused on message development, voter data segmentation, opposition research, campaign techniques, volunteer engagement, coalition building, and fundraising. Hope to see you in April.
That’s all for today. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!