For those of you who didn’t see the story that was published on
kitsapsun.com yesterday, the Kitsap Regional Library Board of
Trustees has authorized the library staff to begin preparations for
a possible levy vote in November 2010.
As explained in the library’s press release, but not in the Sun
story, the board will wait until July to decide whether to put a
measure on the fall ballot. Board members are especially cognizant
of how the economy has affected Kitsap residents, and probably
won’t move ahead with the proposed levy if there has been no
economic improvement by then.
The library has cut its budget in the past two years and has
created a sustainable spending plan for the future. Because of the
foresight in budget planning, the library has not been forced to
conduct staff layoffs or close branches, slash programs or furlough
employees like other units of local government have in the past
As a result, the library won’t be coming to voters saying that
if you don’t vote yes, KRL will be slashing programs or services.
There’s no “threat” of takeaways from the library if a levy is
defeated. It’s a pure choice for voters. It’s a referendum on the
value of having a vibrant library system for our community.
Are you willing to say yes to a 1 percent increase in your
property tax bill to get more library services, more books, more
media, better technology, more user convenience, and — of great
significance to CK — new library facilities in Silverdale and
Kingston and library facility improvements at every other
I’m sure some people will say no. Especially in these tough
economic times, people will say no to tax increases. Some will say
no because they are financially strapped. And some will say no
because they choose to spend their money in a different way.
But some people will say yes because they recognize that library
usage is at an all-time high in Kitsap County, just as it is across
the country. They will say yes because they recognize that for the
cost of one new hardcover book at publishers price they can get
free access to all the books that have been published; to CDs and
DVDs; to thousands of journals and magazines, popular and obscure,
through the library’s subscription databases; and to free wireless
internet at all the library’s branches.They can get better services
through the library’s web site, and enhance the nine branches that
offer library service across the county.
If you ever wonder about the value of the library, there’s a
handy calculator on the library web site. All
you have to do is fill in some information about how many books,
CDs, movies, or other items you borrow from the library each year,
and mark whether you use library programs or services. The
calculator will compute the value of those things that you get at
the library for free.
For Central Kitsap, the ballot question will have special
significance. The Silverdale branch library serves the largest
population of any branch in the system, yet it’s one of the
smallest branches. There is inadequate parking for library patrons
there. The children’s area, the bank of adult computers, the
magazines, the books and the reference desk are all shoved together
in one crammed space. Kitsap’s “right-sized” libraries, have about
1 square foot of space for every 2 to 2.25 people in the area it
serves. By this measure, the Silverdale branch is the most
undersized library in the KRL system, with 1 square foot for every
10 people in the area it serves.
So what value would you place on a new, much larger Silverdale
library located next to the new YMCA on the Silverdale Community