Ballots for our library levy arrive next week, and, along with so many friends, neighbors and community leaders, I will be voting yes for libraries.
I’m voting yes because libraries are essential to our democracy, providing equal and open access to information. Because they are community gathering places. Because they promote literacy — and provide classes, entertainment, story times, research assistance — and so much more.
I’m voting yes because the levy is essential in order to avoid cuts in library hours, programs and staffing. The fact is, Sno-Isle Libraries faces a real and growing funding gap: with a few exceptions, state law limits levy funding increases to one percent a year. Unfortunately, however, actual costs to operate libraries — staffing, utilities, health care benefits, etc. — are increasing more than one percent a year. And so, the levy voters approved in 2009 is no longer enough to pay the bills.
I’m voting yes because the levy is affordable; the rate will increase by nine cents, to a total of 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. For most home owners, the annual increase is about the same as the cost of one hardback book.
I’m voting yes because it is one of the easiest, most meaningful ways to do something good for the community.
Please, watch for that ballot in your mail box and vote yes for libraries.