Friday, May 14, 2010

Renewal of Library Levy to be discussed by County Board of Commissioners

At their May 25th meeting, the Washington County Board of Commissioners will entertain a proposal to renew the library local option levy that supports countywide library service. Passed by voters in November of 2006, the current levy is set to expire 6/30/2011. The Board will discuss placing a renewal on the November 2010 ballot.

The current levy provides approximately 1/3 of funding for Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS). It is a rate levy of $0.17 per $1000 of assessed value, and generates about $7 million per year for library service. The levy allowed libraries to restore open hours that had previously been cut, purchase books and materials, support reading programs and services for children, and support central services than link member libraries together. Since passage of the levy, libraries have experienced double-digit increases in use in almost every service measure including checkouts, children’s program attendance, use of electronic databases, and library visitors.

The proposed levy would continue the same $0.17 rate and would be for a term of five years (FY2011-12 through FY2015-16). Funds would be used to support local library operations, purchase books and materials, support reading programs and services for children, support resources and information for job seekers, and support central and outreach services that link libraries together such as the shared WCCLS catalog and website, interlibrary deliveries to fill patron requests, electronic resources, and mail delivery to homebound residents.

The levy proposal can be found here. The Board of Commissioners meeting and public hearing will be Tuesday, May 25th, at 6:30 pm in the Huffman Auditorium of the Cameron Public Services Building, 155 N. First Street, Hillsboro, OR 97124.