Lib Politics Rodeo Summer Edition

Rodeo catsAs we return from the 2015 ALA Annual Conference we are busy following up on all the great conversations we had there. Here are a few things that came up on our radar while we were making it happen in San Francisco.

On Our Reading List

This blog post lays out 8 obstacles and lessons learned written by a former city administrator, Lynn Nordby, while working on getting a bond measure for a new library on the ballot and passed in Enumclaw, Washington. Some of these we already help libraries anticipate and others are new. If you are considering a bond measure this provides very practical and actionable first steps in what to research and prepare for when talking with your city administrators.

This New York Times article examines property taxes, a common local funding mechanism for libraries and why they are the most favorable taxes. Next to income and sales taxes, property taxes are more stable and reliable because they are long lasting and have little or no impact on taxpayer behavior. They are designed to grow overtime and the amount of property tax used to fund local government has increased because of this since the last recession. We’re bookmarking this at EveryLibrary because it helps us build our vocabulary when encouraging libraries to learn and do more about their funding.


There’s a petition in Missouri for a 2016 ballot initiative that would limit any new state or local tax. It is a change to the state constitution and needs signatures from 8% of voters in the 2012 govenor’s election. This type of anti-tax push would be devastating for libraries and other units of government in the state. We are monitoring this at EveryLibrary and if it makes it to the ballot in 2016, we’d line up to help run a No campaign.

On June 23rd, voters in Dunkirk (NY) passed a ballot measure for the library to become part of and funded by the school district. This means that the library will have $350,000 in stable funding annual funding.

Other Happenings

EveryLibrary advisor, Rebekkah Smith-Aldrich, was interviewed this week by Information Today, Inc. about her role in bringing awareness to voting on public library funding measures in New York with the development of the Public Library Vote Toolbox. A most important and necessary extension on the work we do at EveryLibrary is consistently building a voter base to activate when you need it. Rebekkah is doing some wonderful work and our thanks go to Info Today for putting a light on it.

We have announced our editorial board and submission guidelines for our journal the Political Librarian. We will be releasing the premier issue on September 5 and are looking for submissions that further the discussion around public policy and funding issue for libraries. More details on the journal were announced in April. We are accepting submission from anyone who is interested in this topic.

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

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