Lib Politics Rodeo February 17th, 2014

Welcome to the Lib Politics Rodeo.

Lib Politics Rodeo

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…

Big Big News

Last week there was a photo essay of Librarians in Slate This Is What A Librarian Looks Like. The photographs were taken by Kyle Cassidy at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. EveryLibrary Senior Advisor, JP Porcaro, shared his thoughts on our blog about why this article is so important for Librarians and Libraries. From the OCLC report, From Awareness to Funding, we learned that people who have a positive view of their librarian are more likely to vote in support of library funding. And when we advise local library ballot committees we ask them to think about the librarian as the candidate for their funding measure. So, this Slate article is doing so much more than busting stereotypes. This photo essay, along with the Librarian's quotes about libraries is contributing to a positive view of librarians and therefore possibly more votes for library funding.


Last week we reported that the City Commission in Birmingham (MI) was going to make a final decision on whether or not to put a $21.5 million proposal to upgrade the Baldwin public library on their May ballot. Despite questions on cost and design, the City Commission has voted unanimously to put this decision before the voters. The vote will be on May 6th, 2014.

The McCowan Memorial Library in Pitman, NJ could actually be looking forward to tax time this year. That is because of a bill working its way through the New Jersey Legislature that would allow tax payers to make a library donation with their return. Library funding has suffered lately because property values have gone down and legislators are hopeful that this new bill will help the library sustain its current level of service. (1)

Cedar Rapids (IA) has opened a new downtown library and now needs money to operate it. A levy they had to support the collection will end this year in June. They are considering a measure for the November 2015 ballot. Duval County (FL) is also considering a measure, but for this fall. City Council is working on finding a mill rate for the proposed library district. They are studying what libraries in the neighboring counties did when they passed their own measures for library districts.

In Jackson County (OR) a measure for the creation of special tax district to fund libraries will be on the May ballot. This would allow the library to collect a property tax of up to 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. It could bring in over 9 million in the first year. In Half Moon Bay (CA) a tax measure is being considered for the November ballot to fund building a new library. They tried to get state funding in 2004, but were passed over. They will be holding public meetings over the next few months to gather input from residents on the design. In Paulding County (GA) the Paulding County Carnegie Library will be asking voters to renew their tax levy on the May 6th ballot. This 2.17-mill levy would be renewed for 4 years.

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!


(1) editors note: paragraph edited 18 Feb 14 to clarify  status of the bill