In 2015, nearly 150 libraries in 24 states held referenda to renew or enact taxes for operations, staffing, or facilities. More than 1.1 million voters showed up at the polls in 2015 to decide on tax measures for their libraries. Just over 650,000 people voted yes and nearly 470,000 voted no. Of the 148 library ballot measures we have identified (through news reports, surveys, and direct involvement of EveryLibrary, the national library PAC the authors work for), 127 were won and 21 lost. One, while technically passing, actually rolled back the library’s funding, making it, in our opinion, a loss.
Though the outcomes of these elections were only directly germane to the health of these particular institutions, the results will be read for trends for the entire field. While this article is an examination of elections held nationwide, it does not represent a national plebiscite on libraries. What we can glean from a deep analysis of these particular elections is the extremely local tone and tenor of the electorate in many separate jurisdictions, some as small as one zip code.
Read the whole article and view extensive results tables on Library Journal.
EveryLibrary was very proud of our support to 10 library communities in 2015. We have nearly 20 communities with plans for elections in 2016. We are only able to do this work because of our donors' support. Become a monthly donor today. We'll put it to work winning elections for libraries this year and in the future.