Friday, January 3, 2014

Library referenda: successful campaigns analyzed

A successful library referendum campaign identifies three things, according to Kathy Rosa, writing for American Libraries: the amount of money needed, how long the tax will last and a justification that resonates with the community. Among these, the “overarching challenge” is to build trust and establish compelling need.

It’s a timely article, given Jackson County libraries’ urgent need for funds.

Among its top 13 stories of 2013, the Medford Mail Tribune reported that Jackson County commissioners and all 11 cities in the county agreed to put a library district on ballots that will go before voters in November. “The library proposal would cost property owners 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to generate about $9 million a year.”

As cited in a report by Christine Pitawanich for KOBI NBC 5, the county’s public libraries cost $4.2 million each year in county general funds; the total cost to run the 15-library system is $5 million annually.

The proposed special district to fund Jackson County Library Services would eliminate a need for county general fund support and bring library hours back to pre-shutdown levels, according to a report by Ryan Pfeil for the Medford Mail Tribune.

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