Monday, April 22, 2013

‘Trouble in the book stacks’ for Jackson County libraries?

Is there trouble in the book stacks at Jackson County Library Services libraries? According to Shady Cove writer Bill Miller, “An entire county and 15 communities have all of their books on the line.”

Library card: Jackson County Library ServicesMiller presents an informative and cautionary essay about library funding in Oregon -- specifically in Jackson County.

Among its details: by 1963, Oregon was spending only about $1.60 per person per year on libraries and nearly one quarter of Oregon residents had no local library access at all.

In Jackson County, Oregon, according to Miller, the first Carnegie Library opened its doors in 1912 in Medford. By 1963, it was headquarters for Jackson County Library Services.

In 1963, Jackson County Librarian Omar Bacon accepted one of nine presentations made to outstanding libraries across the United States. JCLS was recognized for consolidating many administrative and purchasing functions as well as book processing along with increased support by city and county officials.

Unfortunately, according to Miller,
“Troubled times are never far away. In 2007, 15 Jackson County libraries closed for six months.
“In 1984, voters passed a library levy to help keep an ailing system open, but that levy and subsequent voter-approved levies were ended by measures 47 and 50 that together transferred all existing levies into the county's permanent tax base, with no requirement that those funds be used to support libraries or anything else.”
The essay was posted April 21 by the Medford Mail Tribune. It’s informative reading for the detail it conveys about Oregon libraries past and present.

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