|Library in Ashland, Ore. Image by Curtis Cronn|
In an Oct. 15 editorial, the Ashland Daily Tidings urges readers to “Renew the library levy.” It urges Ashland residents to continue with an “increasingly passé idea of investing in and supporting valuable community services.”
The editorial offers a concise recent history of library funding and management:
“Measure 15-113 would renew a 2008-approved levy of 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value that allows the Ashland library to be open 40 hours a week instead of the 24 hours common at other county-owned libraries. The four-year levy, which also would augment other library services, would raise about $440,000 in 2014 and increase in increments to about $480,000 by 2017.
“The owner of a typical Ashland home assessed at $241,000 would pay $50.61 per year or a little more than $4 a month.
“Jackson County voters in 2000 approved a $39 million bond measure to build or remodel 15 county library branches, including Ashland's. But within a few short years, the county saw timber-related revenues shrink and its budget do the same. So county officials cut funding for the libraries, resulting in a temporary closure at one point, before bringing in a private company to manage the libraries.
“Operating on a reduced budget, the libraries are open each week for periods ranging from eight hours in Butte Falls to 24 hours at the main library in Medford. Oh, yes, and then there's Ashland's library, open 40 hours a week.”The editorial makes a case that Ashland supports education and lifelong learning. “The belief that knowledge is important permeates who the community is and what its priorities are.”
The levy plays an important role in maintaining library access in the community, as the editorial clearly states. I thank the Ashland Daily Tidings for its support of the Ashland Library.