October Elections Round Up

Rodeo catsThere were a few library elections that we were tracking in October. We’re proud to see that all three were WINS for libraries.  Hopefully this trend will continue in to November.

A ballot initiative called Norman Forward (OK) was passed by 72% of voters on October 13. A one half percent sales tax, over 15 years, is expected to bring in $146 million for public projects including a new public library.

Voters in Lafourche Parish (LA) passed a ballot measure in their October 24 election. The 1.65 mill and a 4.06 mill levy renewals both passed with barely over 50% of the vote. It was a close victory for libraries in Lafourche. We assisted with a NO campaign there last year when Council Chair Lindel Toups wanted to take money away from the library to build a new jail.

There was also a win last week for East Baton Rouge Parish library. Voters passed a 10 year renewal of the 11.1 millage levy. The previous levy had been rolled back to 10.78 mills and so this renewal bring an increase in funding. The additional funds will be used for renovations starting with the oldest buildings in the system.

News

Early voting began last week in Cedar Rapids (IA) and the local news answered the question of whether or not it was legal for the library to host an early voting location since they were on the ballot. The answer is YES as long as certain rules were followed. The City Auditor explains in more detail in this video. Cedar Rapids Public Library is on the November 3 ballot with a levy that could collect $1.6 million per year for library operations. The campaign is receiving a lot of press like this endorsement by the Gazette.

There will be a measure on the November 3 ballot for residents in Washington County (OR). The Washington County Cooperative Library system is seeking a replacement levy for one that will expire in June 2016. This 5-cent per $1,000 increase, if passed, will be used to increase library hours, materials budget, and programming for children.

The Ellsworth Public Library (ME) will have a $4.95 million bond measure on the November 3 ballot. The money is needed to renovate a library that was built in 1817. A new foundation will be built and improvements (sic) will be made to the building such as adding insulation.

Monroe Free Library (NY) will be on the November 9 special election ballot after the Town Board was late in approving their request to be on the ballot by petition. A state Supreme Court Justice ruled that the library appear on the ballot with the exclusion of a town that withdrew from the library service area 5 years ago. The library is seeking a $30,000 increase to their annual budget and will need to reimburse the city half the cost of reprinting the ballots. An attorney working with the library has requested that ballot petitions need not be approved by the Town Board in the future.

A couple weeks ago our Executive Director, John Chrastka attended a Jasper Public Library (IN) Board meeting via Skype. The Library is considering a November 2016 ballot measure to build a library on a new site in Hoosier Desk.

If you need a jump to get out and vote for libraries on November 3 look no further. This is a thoughtful piece by a professor of library and information studies at Florida State University and the university librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University about why Americans love their public libraries. From our friends at VLA.

Other Happenings

We will be tracking 28 library elections across 14 states on November 3. We will be live tweeting results from @EveryLibrary. Join us for the Library Watch Party 2015. And don’t forget to get out and vote for libraries next week. Bring your family, friends and neighbors with you to the polls. Let’s make it a win for all libraries together.

If your library is on the ballot and you need some stress relief or if you want to support your colleagues on November 3 join us, and our artist in residence, on the Library Submarine. It’s experience based performance art because we’re in this together.  

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!

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