Spokane taxpayers voted for a bond in 1990 for new library buildings downtown, and at five branches. The bonds were paid off in 2008. Now, we will have to close branches in 2014 to keep reasonable hours at the remaining branches, and provide a worthwhile amount of new publications.
Proposition 3 on the Feb. 12 special election proposes an additional tax of $7 per $100,000 of property valuation to be dedicated to library services for four years.
There is a city budget problem in part due to large wage increases. The library has been run very lean, with low wage increases, about like the private sector, unlike most city agencies. The library does not have a direct obvious benefit, and powerful police and fire unions, so it suffers in the budget process.
The benefit of libraries is indirect, but far-reaching. Libraries help give us a more literate, therefore more productive and prosperous society. Spokane citizens have a decision to make, and a message to send to city government. What scale of library service do we want?
Yes on Prop 3, and we will keep the current level of service. No, and our library investment will start to wither away.