Seattle’s neighborhood and downtown libraries are a treasured resource for all of us. We must keep them open and accessible to all and maintain our world class collection of materials—from archives to e-books, children’s collections to computers.
The recession, compounded by caps on revenue following Eyman tax cut initiatives, have resulted in real cuts to library hours, book acquisitions, collection resources, increased digital content and services. With more cuts on the horizon, we have the opportunity to step up and make an investment in our libraries with a YES vote on Seattle Proposition 1.
If it passes, the people of Seattle will invest $17.3 million annually through a library levy funded by an increase in the property tax. The total amount of the levy is $122.6 million over seven years, starting in 2013 and ending in 2019. The amount levied would be 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $52 per year for the median Seattle home owner.
The levy addresses four critical areas of need:
Levy funds will be used to improve services, restoring 6551 open hours when people need them most. The annual one-week closure of the entire system will be rescinded. Materials collection will be improved, computers and technology infrastructure will be upgraded, and both daily and major maintenance will be improved at all 27 branches.
On-site reference staff will be restored at eight affected branches, over 1600 hours of free internet access will return, and the present core services that millions of visitors every year have come to rely on will be preserved and enhanced.
By ordinance, all levy proceeds will be deposited in the Library Levy Fund to specifically address the four primary areas of focus. Oversight of the levy funds will be provided by the Library Board of Trustees, a five-member citizen panel appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council. Each year, the Library must submit a funding expenditure plan to the Mayor and Council that details how levy funds will be used. The City Librarian will also be required to deliver an annual progress report to the Mayor and Council, providing detailed information on how the previous year’s levy proceeds were used to address the four primary areas of focus.
Neighborhood libraries are a critical part of our quality of life, providing study space, meeting facilities, materials for personal and professional growth, and educational programs that build great communities.
Please join us in the continued support of our Libraries!
Seattle’s neighborhood and downtown libraries are a treasured resource for all of us. We must keep them open and accessible to all and maintain our world class collection of materials—from archives to e-books, children…