The cost to provide city services has been rising faster than revenues for more than 20 years, digging a deep budget hole for most community services. As late as 2019, the library was operating at 2002 funding levels. And while the library only represents 3% of the city's budget, it took 20% of the permanent cuts during the 2020 COVID budget crises.
The library is first city service to be cut when budgets are low, and last to be funded when fortunes change. This feast-and-famine cycle is no way to treat the heart of our community. The library needs stable funding -- just like the 59 other library districts across the state currently operate.
Library districts are, in fact, the most common form of library governance. It's a tried and true method for library systems, and ensures lasting, stable funding.