Voters Affirm Libraries!
ULC libraries and their communities came up winners at the ballot box on November 6! Numerous members proposed ballot initiatives of varying purpose and scale to voters. In essence, citizens were asked to affirm the fundamental, transformative value that libraries offer people and communities. Across the country, voters resoundingly said, “Yes!”
We toast these ULC leaders whose dedication to meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow won support from citizens:
- DAYTON METRO LIBRARY, OH: $187 million Libraries for the Future initiative passed with 61.8% voter approval. While details of the comprehensive facility plan will be completed with community input, the plan calls for doubling the size of the main library, replacing 12 smaller and older buildings with 8 new and larger facilities and expanding and renovating 8 other branches. The average branch size for the system will double.
- DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY, CO: Is a key beneficiary of voters’ 73.8% approval of Ballot Measure 2A, which will generate $68 million by allowing the city to keep revenue it already collects but currently has to refund, without raising tax rates or fees. The $68 million will be used to improve police and fire protection, repair city streets and increase library hours by over 40%, from 4 to 6 days a week with some additional Sunday hours.
- EL PASO PUBLIC LIBRARY, TX: Will grow as a result of voters “overwhelming” approval of Proposition 2 which will generate $228.25 million in bonds to upgrade museums and libraries and build a new children's museum and a multipurpose arena. The library will use new resources to fund capital improvements as well as expansion.
- FRESNO COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, CA: Sales tax Measure B was enthusiastically approved by 72% of voters. This revenue stream first enacted in 1998 and renewed in 2004, will now be in place for 16 years, covering approximately 55% of the library’s funding base. Library improvements will include job and homework centers, wifi access, express checkout and an increase in public computers.
- HOUSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, TX: Voters approved Proposition D which will provide $28 million to renovate the Freed-Montrose and Robinson-Westchase Neighborhood Libraries and replace the Moody and Meyer Neighborhood Libraries.
- MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY, OR: Achieved a long-sought victory when 62% of voters approved passage of Measure 26-143 creating a permanent library district to fund library services and hours beginning in 2013. Since 1976, the library has been funded by a series of 3- and 5-year temporary levies. Now it will benefit from a taxing district projected to raise about $65 million each year.
- PIKES PEAK LIBRARY DISTRICT, CO: Approved by a 52% margin, Issue 2B will raise 1.2 mills that will enable the library district to assume management of neighboring Manitou Springs Public Library in January 2013.
- ST. LOUIS COUNTY LIBRARY, MO: Almost 58% of voters approved Prop L, which will fund over $100 million in capital improvements, as well as allow it to expand its programs and services to the community.
- STARK COUNTY DISTRICT LIBRARY, OH: Supporters spoke on November 6, approving passage of Issue 42, which increases its operating levy from 1 mill to 1.7 mill. The library will use increased resources to restore its collections budget and other services that have been cut since 2009.
- TOLEDO-LUCAS COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY, OH: 66% of voters approved Issue 23, the 2.9 mill, 5-year replacement levy. Their approval includes a vote to increase, with new money, the library’s property tax funding by 45% - which is nearly half of the library’s total revenue.
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