Lib Politics Rodeo December 9th, 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:
Jackson County’s (OR) proposed library ballot measure to create a special library district is now in public hearings. 5 hearings are set with January - March dates. If approved this measure will go on the May 2014 ballot. The new tax would generate about 9 million dollars per year to fund the 15 library branches. Library hours would go back to what they were before the 2007 shutdown. Unless new funding, such as this proposed special district, is found 14 of the 15 library branches will close in the 14-15 fiscal year with the remaining Medford branch closing the following year.
In Birmingham (MI), a 21.5 million dollar bond measure was approved for the May 2014 election. The general obligation bonds will fund a 16,000 square foot addition to the Baldwin Library. The city commission voted 6-1 to have the ballot language written. However, the city has other possible capital projects coming up and 2 commissioners believe that there is a possibility this ballot measure could be reconsidered. The commission has until the end of February to change their minds and pull this bond measure from the ballot.
The Pekin City Council (IL) has given the Pekin Public library permission to go forward with the design phase of a $5.6 million renovation project. The bond to fund this is scheduled to be on the ballot in May 2014. However one councilman has voted against going forward on the design phase and wants this to also be a ballot referendum which could delay the bond measure until November of next year or later.
Other news in politics:
There will be a California state ballot measure for pension reform coming in 2014 or 2016. The San Jose mayor, Chuck Reed (D), wants to amend the state constitution to allow for changes to employee pension benefits even after they are hired to curb the state's high retirement spending. Unions are coming out strong against this. This change would impact any public employee with pension benefits including library staff.
EveryLibrary can help by providing local ballot committees with Get Out The Vote training and consultation on running successful campaigns to break through the clutter and encourage people to go to the bottom of the ballot where the library issue usually is. However, we cannot do that without your support. Help us raise $5,000 by the American Library Association Midwinter Conference so we can continue to help libraries secure funding.
That’s all for today. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!