Lib Politics Rodeo July 15, 2014

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…

I'm Rachel Korman, the EveryLibrary intern! I will be presenting the Lib Politics Rodeo to you for the next little while. It's nice to virtually meet you all. You can read more about me on the EveryLibrary bio page.  Let's get started!


The Taney County, MO library board has had to put a campaign initiative for a levy to fund their libraries on hold due to resignations on their board. The board was planning on putting together a campaign for the levy to appear on the November 4th ballot. A similar levy was voted down in 2013. The campaign plans will be suspended until the board positions can be filled.

Earlier this month, Lake County (OH) commissioners passed a resolution requesting that the county Auditor’s Office approve of revenue that would be generated by a proposed levy renewal. This is their first step in renewing a 5 year, 1-mill levy for Morley Library, which is planned to appear on the November 4th ballot. The library relies on this levy for 44.5% of it’s annual revenue, so the renewal is crucial for Morley Library to maintain its services.

The Ostego County Library (MI) is seeking a renewal request on a six year, .40-millage on their August 5th primary election ballot. The new language included on the ballot is already confusing early absentee voters. The ballot language in question is as follows: “To the extent required by law, a portion of this millage may be captured by and retained by the City of Gaylord Downtown Development Authority (DDA).” This "capture" has been enabled due to a tax increment refinance plan put in place 20 years ago by the DDA, who is now allowed to acquire any increases in the Standard Equalized Value (SEV) property tax. For the measure on this ballot, the DDA is eligible to capture  0.40 mills, or $1,349.10, from the library renewal levy. The county is working to clarify the language to those who are unfamiliar.

Education Initiatives

This week we’re reporting on two Education Initiatives that will interest school librarians in Nevada and Mississippi.

This November 4th, the Nevada State Education Association will place a new tax on the general election ballot to help fund Nevada’s cash-strapped and under-performing education system. Question 3 will place a 2% tax on businesses whose gross revenue exceeds $1 million. The revenue accumulated by Question 3, which could reach almost $750 million, will be put towards improving public education in Nevada.

However, there is opposition to this tax. The Coalition to Defeat the Margin Tax Initiative have been running an active campaign this year, raising more than $1.5 million. Supporters of this coalition believe that the tax will eliminate 9,000 private sector jobs and impair Nevada’s gradual comeback from the recent national economic downturn. The next few months will prove crucial to determining the outcome of the pro-tax campaign and the immediate future of Nevada’s education funding.

In Mississippi, the Better Schools, Better Jobs ballot initiative is working towards improving the underfunded and struggling education system throughout the state. The initiative is proposing a change in Mississippi’s constitutional language, specifically asking the Mississippi legislature to "fund an adequate and efficient system of free public schools”. The state constitution will be responsible for fully funding the state’s education system every year if the ballot initiative passes- which state Legislature has only done twice since 1997.

Mississippi schools have been underfunded by $1 billion annually in recent years, which is reflected in the low academic performance throughout the state’s public schools. For the Better Schools, Better Jobs initiative to get a spot on the November 2015 ballot, 110,000 signatures are needed by September 1st.

If you are travelling to Library Instruction West next week, please join EveryLibrary Board member, Erica Findley, at the EveryLibrary Oregon BrewFest Meetup. This is a social get together where we can talk politics in libraries or whatever is on your mind while we sample some of the best brews that the NW has to offer. Admission is free. $7 mugs and $1 tokens are required for sampling.

The year is more than half way over, but we are continuing our work and have just announced 3 new campaigns we will be supporting in 2014. Your donations will help us, help them.

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