Library may ask voters to restore levy

When the economy slumps and revenues dry up, even librarians get the blues.

Officials in the Sno-Isle Library system are considering floating a new funding levy to compensate for revenues lost due to such recent tax-limiting initiatives as I-747.

The idea of renewed library funding may have received a boost from recent poll that found 79 percent of Island County voters would support a restored library levy rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Due to the passage of I-747, which limits property tax revenue collection to an annual 1 percent increase, Sno-Isle collected about $300,000 less in revenues this year from the previous year. The current levy rate is for the library system is 46 cents, which will continue to drop unless a special levy is approved.

According to Mary Kelly, Sno-Isle’s community relations manager, the library board is considering putting a levy on a special election ballot as early as next spring, which would allow them to start collecting increased revenues beginning the following year.

“The amount of revenue we collect will continue to drop, because we’re not ale to collect the full amount,” Kelly said, adding that 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value is the maximum allowed library districts by state law.

“This would be a way to restore our funding and maintain the current level of service people have come to expect,” she added.

Kelly said one of the reasons Sno-Isle libraries have continued to function relatively well despite shrinking revenue streams has to do with the organization itself. “It has been managed very, very well, which is one of the reasons why we haven’t taken some of the financial hits that some of the other agencies have taken,” she said.

Nonetheless, Kelly said it will be difficult to maintain a high level of service, as well as integrate new technologies, without a levy restoring Sno-Isle to its previous level of funding.

“One of the things we’re finding is that the price of the things we need in the libraries to provide the level of service that people expect continues to go up,” Kelly said.

Along with the support for the levy found in the recent survey, Kelly said folks have expressed satisfaction with the quality and kinds of service being provided by Sno-Isle, which serves more than half a million residents throughout Snohomish and Island counties. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said they are either extremely or very satisfied with the services they get when visiting a Sno-Isle library.

Kelly said the high level of support for a proposed levy can be attributed in part to the immediate relationship the library system has with taxpayers. Because the system doesn’t rely on city or county budgets for funding, libraries can go straight to voters for support, much like the Island County hospital district did for the continuation of its emergency services levy.

“The partnership that we have with the taxpayers is direct,” Kelly said.

Programs at Oak Harbor Library

For information on Friends of Oak Harbor Library, call Kathleen Shaw, 675-3658.The library’s phone number is 675-5115.

Preschool Storytime is Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., through Nov. 12. Toddler Storytime meets Wednesdays through Oct. 30 at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Baby and Me Storytime meets Thursdays at 9:30 a.m.Bedtime storytime has gentle stories and songs at 7 p.m. Mondays.

Artist and cartoonist Gregg Davis will demonstrate cartooning techniques Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Friends of the Oak Harbor Library will present a special storytelling program at their meeting Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. Program is free and open to the public, refreshments will be served.

Internet Surf School is a basic introduction to using the Internet. Friday, Oct. 18 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Please pre-register.

Playing Cat and Mouse is an introductory class on finding information using the Sno-Isle catalog and on-line databases. We will cover using the mouse, searching the Sno-Isle catalog, search tips, placing a hold, searching for magazine articles and NoveList.

Coupeville library programs

Call the library, 678-4911.

Pre-school storytime, Fridays at 9:30 a.m. through Nov. 22

School-age programs for ages 5-12: The Basics, Oct. 12, 10 a.m. Laura Kvasnosky, Nov. 2, 10 a.m.Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.

Internet Surf School for teens and adults, Oct. 21, 6 p.m.

Playing Cat and Mouse, Oct. 23, 9 a.m.

Northwest Bookfest bus trip, Oct. 19, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. $30. Call 678-6222 or the library at 678-4911.

On Final Approach—Recollections of a World War II B-17 Air Crew

Oct. 24, 7 p.m.

Join Ed Carr, USAF retired, author, as he shares the adventures (or misadventures) of one B-17 aircrew in WWII. This book chronicles the combat missions they flew at Ridgewell in England. Books available for purchase.

For info about more programs, activities and features of the Coupeville Library, located at 788 NW Alexander in Coupeville, call 678-4911.

The programs mentioned above are made possible due to funding by the Friends of the Coupeville Library. To become a member of this library friendly group, stop by the Coupeville Library, or write: Friends of the Coupeville Library, PO Box 745, Coupeville, WA 98239.

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