Special Committee on the Library Levy
Providing funding stability for The Seattle Public Library is a priority for the City of Seattle. The Library supports the economic, educational and cultural vitality of our city, contributes to an informed community, and serves as anchors of Seattle’s neighborhoods. In 1998, the city affirmed its commitment to the Library when nearly 70% of voters passed the Libraries for All bond measure to expand, renovate or build new branches in every neighborhood in the city.
As a result of constraints on the City's General Fund in recent years, the Library has been closed for one week each year since 2009, fifteen of the 26 branch libraries are currently closed two days a week, and the Library’s collections budget has been cut by more than 13 percent since 2009.
In December of 2011, the Special Committee requested that the City Librarian work with the Library Board, the Executive, and City Council staff to develop a potential Library Levy to provide ongoing funding for a portion of the Library’s budget. The anticipated date of a potential Library Levy is August of 2012, with funding available in 2013.
Over the last two years, the Library has involved over 39,000 residents in strategic planning for the Library’s future and setting priorities for Library services. In community surveys, focus groups panel discussions, five open houses, and three community meetings, the people of Seattle came together to identify the priorities for the Library’s work now and in the future.
In response, the City Librarian and Library Board President have presented a proposed a seven year Library levy of $17 million annually funded by an increase in the property tax. The levy addresses four critical areas of need identified by over 39,000 Seattle residents:
- Keeping libraries open when people need them
- Providing a robust collection of books and materials
- Improving computer and online services
- Maintaining our buildings for the next generation of users
In addition, the levy protects current core services from further cuts.
Learn more here.