Lib Politics Rodeo January 13th, 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.

In the news:

2014 is starting out as a busy year for libraries with measures on the ballot. Take a look at your state or local elections site to see if there will be something you can vote on early this year. Every vote of support counts as evidenced in our 2013 library elections deep dive. Some measures lose by extremely narrow margins of under 10 votes. Give your friends, family, and neighbors of voting age a nudge while you are at it.

Whitman County Library District (WA) will have something on the ballot for the February 11th election to raise the library levey rate 7 cents per $1,000. The library needs this to keep its current hours and services. Because of a state law there is a limit on tax increases and so an increase in the library levey is needed about every 5 years. On February 25th, the Salem-South Lyon District Library(MI) will have something for voters in the special election. A .495 millage increase is needed because a decline in property values has caused the library to lose revenue. If this measure fails the library will need to be closed at least 2 days per week and make staff cuts. Library outreach programs will also be eliminated.

There are also a few proposed ballot measures for 2014 that made news this week. Cornelius Public Library (OR) is likely to go for another ballot measure in May. City Council will make its decision by the February 3rd meeting. Cornelius had a bond on the ballot in November that lost by a very narrow margin. Library supporters are hoping to do more voter education about library funding for this measure and that voter turnout will be higher in a May election. Mill Creek Library (WA), part of Sno-Isle libraries, is looking for a new library and location. The city is looking at partnering with the retailer Target for construction. The library would be located above a Target store. A ballot measure is not for sure yet, but could be a possibility for this year. The Godeke Branch Library in Lubbok (TX) has a building lease that will expire this September. The city has been talking about finding a new location for this branch for sometime. A proposed bond for the November election could be used to fund construction of a new library which would cost an estimated $7.4 million dollars. The City Council meets next on January 13th (today) to make a decision.

 On our desks:

EveryLibrary California has been tweeting excepts from a new study by PEW, How Americans View Public Libraries in Their Communities. According to the study, 63% of Americans (16+) think that if their local public library closed it would have a major impact on the community as a whole. Studies such as this one are important to the work we do at EveryLibrary because they help us understand the perception of libraries so we can better advise and work with local ballot communities during an election. Check out the study, it is necessary to understanding library politics as we kick off another busy election year.

If you are attending the 2014 ALA Midwinter Conference don't miss the EveryLibrary | Mango Midwinter After-Hours Benefit and Party. We are bringing you so much than ever before with the after hours. $25 for an open bar, film festival, and networking from 9 pm - 11 pm. Then we open the doors (with suggested donation of $10+) for an afterhours dance party with DJ Marc Records. Get your ticket now so you wont have to wait out in the Philly cold. Are you short on cash, but still want to party? If you volunteer, your ticket is complimentary.

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