Questions about library district


There is much talk these days about the Linn Library League (LLL) creating a new library district. After checking out the Web site for the league, I still wonder about the actual changes this will cause and the costs that are not accounted for. At this point I do not think it would be in the best interest of the citizens or of the cities involved.

First of all, the published costs of creating the library district would be a new tax of at least $.60 per $1,000 for all residences of Linn County. The average value of homes in Linn County is $150,000, which means the library district tax would average $90 per year per household. The cost of a library card in Brownsville is $15 per family per year. Someone needs to explain to me how the new library district is a cost savings for citizens.

On top of this tax, each city involved with the Linn Library League’s new district would need to find another way to budget the ownership responsibilities of the building housing their library. The district would own the business and inventory of the library but not the building. All maintenance will be up to the city. So, this tells me the city gives up the tax base and budget it already has so the district can take over, but it then has to find funding somewhere else for the building. How does this make the new library district a good deal?

Because the LLL’s proposed new library district board of directors could only have so many people on the board, my small town would be one of at least four who will have to share a representative. If that representative is not someone from our city the decisions on the board will most likely not reflect our needs and concerns. The district board would have the ability and power to decide what books would be on the shelves of the Brownsville Library among other business decisions. If you talk to our librarian today, he can tell you that he is able to choose books because of his demographic knowledge of the users of the library.

There are times when combining efforts and resources can help a situation, but I don’t see that it would do so with the creation of the Linn Library League’s proposed library district. The cities are struggling enough with budget issues right now, don’t create a huge dilemma by switching how and where funding will come from for the new library district. Brownsville has opted out of the proposed district, but I live outside of the city limits and would be affected by the new district.

Linda McCormick