August Elections Round Up

Inez Milholland on horseback holding an American flagWe were tracking 6 library elections on the August 4th ballot this year. Even though some of the results are still preliminary it looks like 5 out of the 6 elections have won! We’re so happy to see that a majority of libraries received stable funding last week. Here is the breakdown.

Spokane County Library had a $22 million dollar bond on the August 4th ballot for two new libraries and renovations for other branches. Even though 52% of voters approved the bond, it was not enough to pass in Washington State where 60 % is needed. Their loss is unconfirmed until the ballot results are certified on 8/18. We assisted in this campaign and are heartbroken by this lost. We will have a follow up retrospective on this campaign soon.

In nearby Castle Rock (WA), according to the early non-certified results, the measure to renew the library tax has won. The 50 cents per $1,000 levy will last for one year and is expected to bring in $62,058 for library operations. This is the biggest source of library funding since the city stopped funding the library in 2006.

Half of the elections we tracked were in Michigan. Voters in Berrien County have said YES to a 0.3 mill library tax expected to generate $91,500 in during the first year of the levy. According to the unofficial results the measure passed narrowly by just over 100 votes.  The library will now be able to open its doors 6 days of the week instead of the current 5 days. Chippewa and Mackinac counties both voted for the renewal of a 0.5 mill levy that supports the Superior District Library. The 10 year renewal passed with 59% of the vote. Voters in Lenewee County voted to pass a 1.5-mill 10 year property tax that will fund the Stair District Library. This 10 year levy is expected to generate $131,500 in its first year.

Voters in Carthage, MO passed a half percent sales tax increase by 352 votes. Part of this increase will go to fund library operations over the next 20 years. The current library levy has been static for many years and income is declining while library use is growing.

News

The Norman Forward initiative is planning a new public library among other recreational facilities in Norman, OK. The half cent sales tax increase would last for 15 years and fund about $146 million in projects to improve quality of life in the city. City officials are already endorsing the measure and it is expected to placed in the October 13 ballot by city council during their meeting today.

There will be a measure on the November ballot for a funding increase to the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Libraries (OH). According to the Keep Chillicothe-Ross Libraries Strong! website, the state funding cut to libraries in 2008 has had a lasting impact and funding is at 1996 levels.

Other Happenings

Lindsay Sarin, EveryLibrary Advisor and Editor of the Political Librarian, and Johnna Percell, Associate Editor of the Political Librarian, have co-authored the Re-Envisioning the MLS: Final Report. Re-envisioning the MLS was an initiative at the University of Maryland iSchool and the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) that spent 3 years to explore what the future of the library MLS degree should be. We know the perception of the librarian is one of the most powerful influences in library elections and we are excited to read this report. We are also proud to have Lindsay Sarin and Johnna Percell on our team at EveryLibrary and look forward to their work on the first issue of The Political Librarian due out in September.

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

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