Lib Politics Rodeo September 15, 2015

Ballots are due today in Darby (MT) for a special election to decide if the library will get a 3 millage increase to its funding.

Ballots are due today in Darby (MT) for a special election to decide if the library will get a 3 millage increase to its funding.

It will make up one third of their budget and will be used for staffing, facility maintenance, and materials. We have been working closely with the Vote YES Committee and the library on their respective campaigns. We will watching the polls tonight and hoping the voters say YES. (Update: They did! It's a win in Darby.)

The “Vote Yes! For Libraries” committee in Eugene (OR) will have their campaign launch event this evening. The Mayor and campaign co-chair will be speaking and inviting members of the public to share their stories about the impact the library has had on their lives. The levy increase will help restore hours that were cut in 2012 when the local option levy was not renewed as well as fund new technology in the libraries and literacy services aimed at youth. EveryLibrary has been working with the Eugene Public Library on their Information Only campaign and we have pledged a $2,000 “challenge” to help with their fundraising.

Budget votes were held last week in Miami-Dade (FL). Ten library branches will be opening for 6 days (instead of 5) with the 2016 budget. This is based on our success working with Urban Librarians Unite and the local coalition, with your support in donations, to hold the line on the mayor's proposed cuts in FY 2014, and helping to add new revenue (from $44 million to $52 million) in FY 2015.  We helped Miami-Dade Libraries establish a new floor for their budget. They were able to grow from that new, stronger place into FY 2016, adding back hours, collections, and staff in the process.  It is incremental, year after year work, but with the right training and coaching on negotiations and lobbying (as opposed to 'every day advocacy' which is focused on use and affinity) the stakeholder community can get the system back to great.

The Woodstock Library (NY) budget passed by a 4-1 margin on September 3. The tax is a 2% increase over last year and will increase employee salaries and benefits. Congratulations Woodstock Library!

A measure that would ask voters to fund Bridgeton Public Library (NJ) to be open 6 days a week will not be on the November ballot because it was voted down by City Council. Officials were supportive of library funding, but did not think there was enough time to run an effective campaign. The library cut hours last April and has been fundraising to pay for staff and other operational expenses each year.

There will be a $12 million bond measure on the November 3 ballot to build 2 new branches in the Meridian (ID) Library District. The 2 new branches are needed to keep up with growing demand for library services in the community. EveryLibrary has been working with the library on their Information Only campaign and the YES Committee will launch a GOTV campaign this week. Also on the November ballot, residents in Oxford (CT) will be voting on a $3.5 million bond to fund a new library. Town leaders do not want to spend the entire $3.5 million on the project and will be trying to keep costs down.

The Perrysburg library (OH) will have a measure on the March 2016 ballot for a levy renewal and increase. The current levy of 1.5 mills was passed in 2012. An increase is needed to keep pace with the flat state funding and rising expenses. The increase is expected to generate over $200,000 in additional library funding per year. The Helen Plum Library in Lombard (IL) has hired an independent firm to do a needs study on expanding their current library. They intend on putting forth a ballot measure in Fall 2016. The study will look at renovation, expansion, and replacement of the building scenarios. The library then plans to engage the public in deciding which option will go forward for the ballot measure.

Other Happenings

Last week we announced our Fall 2015 campaigns. We’re onboard with 9 campaigns this fall and it is your support that allows us to do our much needed work for free. Thank you for believing in us and supporting us over the last 3 years.

We will be posting articles from the first issue of our new journal, The Political Librarian, the only journal that covers politics and libraries. Congratulations and thanks to Lindsay Sarin as the series editor as well as this kick ass editorial board. Follow our archives of articles and postings on the Political Librarian.

It’s September, do you know where your new library card holders are? Go where they are and sign them up! It’s Library Card Sign up month and our guide that we did for Outside the Lines last year can help you get together what you need to make it happen. Yes, even now. It’s super easy!

Is your library doing Voter Registration day on September 22? You still have time to sign up and be the center of civic engagement in your community. Become a partner organization.

Come party with us at the California Library Association (CLA) Conference. We will be hosting a pre-party and fundraiser on the evening of November 5 at Barney’s Beanery. A ticket will get you 3 hours of dancing, drinks, pool playing, and networking. Tickets are $40 OR you can sign up to be a $5 per month donor. Details, ticket link, and RSVP. Hope to see you there.

That is all for this week. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!