We Support Spokane Public Libraries

*Updated in response to comment – 2:33 p.m., Feb. 8

It is special election season, as Spokane residents will turn in their ballots no later than Feb. 12. There are three items on the ballot, and we took a position on one of them recently.Vote

Proposition 3 – commonly known as the Library Levy in Spokane – calls for a seven-cent increase in the levy amount applied to property tax, meaning citizens would pay $3.08 per $1,000 of assessed value on their property. This increase would expire in four years (read about the proposition in the Spokane Voters’ Guide).

We support the library levy because its passage would mean the Hillyard and East Central branches would remain open, providing access to resources for those looking for a job, those looking for a quiet place to work, those looking to use the Internet and a lot more.

Libraries are places of learning. Allowing our libraries to close lessens the educational value of our area. A region is often judged by what its priorities are. Education is a priority for us, and a vote for Proposition 3 is a vote for education and our region’s well-being.

Some of the many activities libraries here provide are after school and summer reading programs. Would we want to take away those programs for the kids in the Hillyard and East Spokane areas? Of course not.

In 2011 (the latest available data we have), the East Side and Hillyard libraries had a combined attendance of 6,149 at its various programs. That’s a lot of participation that we don’t want eliminated.

The libraries in Spokane have reduced their budgets by reducing spending on materials and equipment, personnel costs, postponing maintenance projects and reducing full-time staff. The cuts have gone deep.

Library hours have been reduced at the Hillyard and East Side libraries, as well as the Indian Trail branch in northwest Spokane. Passage of Proposition 3 would allow those branches to be open five days and 40 hours a week. The Northwest Room – a nice collection of historical books and magazines from the region – would be able to maintain its current hours.*This paragraph has been updated since the original posting*

Our community’s children and adults deserve a quality library system. Passing Proposition 3 helps achieve that.


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