FAQs

In the 2014 May Primary Jackson County voters will have an opportunity to approve the formation of a Library District. Without exception every city in the county voted for inclusion in the district and it is now up to us to persuade voters to support this important effort.

Becoming a district means that our libraries will move out from under the governance of the County and will enjoy the stability of a permanent tax base and leadership of a separately elected board whose sole purpose is to guide our libraries. Although the new board of directors will determine days and hours of operation, the proposed district funding offers hope for expanded services at each library.

Over the last decade, Jackson County libraries have evolved into community meeting places, study centers for students, a quiet place to access computers as well as instruction for using them, and with that evolution library usage has dramatically increased.  And of course they offer access to electronic media, news, books and entertainment. Indeed, it would appear that libraries are more relevant now than ever.

We cannot let this opportunity slip by, but to succeed we need your help: Engaging, persuading and activating voters to support the library district will require both money and volunteers.  Please take a moment to let the campaign know how you can help, either by volunteering or with a contribution.

What is a Special District?

Think school district and you have the idea. Like a school district, a library district has its own elected board, manager and citizen’s budget committee. The special library district will include unincorporated areas of the county and city limits. There are over 20 special library districts in Oregon counties, which were funded through voter-approved tax rates.

Who will govern the Special Library District?

Under Oregon Law, a special district is governed by a board elected at the time the district measure is passed. The County cannot be the governing body of a Special Library District. A special library board is entirely independent of governance by the County Board of Commissioners.

What will the district cost and what can we expect?

The Board of Commissioners is recommending a funding rate that will give the district the ability to function and offers the new board and its citizens’ budget committee enough for the future. The recommended rate of up to .60/$1,000 is a ceiling – not a floor. How much will be leveraged and what the service level will look like is to be determined by the library district board. The proposed rate would likely be enough to maintain or even enhance current services. The district board has the option of not levying the entire amount initially. It is important to note that County Commissioners and representatives can’t guarantee an exact level of service because it will be determined by the District’s elected officials. And, the rate will never be higher than this amount.

Did the County run out of money to fund the library because they built new libraries?

No. Similar to financing the building of a house, it doesn’t finance the operation of it. The libraries would still be facing closure even if the new buildings had not been built. The library bond that voters approved in May 2000 could only be used to build, not to operate the libraries and furthermore, they cannot be used for anything other than a library until the year 2020.

Did the County run out of money to fund the library because they built new libraries?

No. Similar to financing the building of a house, it doesn’t finance the operation of it. The libraries would still be facing closure even if the new buildings had not been built. The library bond that voters approved in May 2000 could only be used to build, not to operate the libraries and furthermore, they cannot be used for anything other than a library until the year 2020.