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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Would You Pay a Higher Tax to Keep Libraries Open?

If handed an opportunity to pay higher taxes in order to sustain your city's library system, would you do it?

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh may be free, but rising operating costs could result in closing several branches of one of the city's most cultural, resourceful, and long-standing institutions.

While donations and grants have kept the library operating for many years, CLP is facing an option that some city residents may be reluctant to do - vote yes on a property tax hike in order to support libraries.
The proposed issue will be added to the November 8 ballot, and is estimated at a cost of approximately $2.09 per month - which basically will round out to about $25 per year. However, a recent unofficial poll showed that 53 percent would vote yes and 34 percent no, while 13 percent were undecided on the issue.

If this option was presented to me, I would definitely vote yes. In addition to libraries offering books on a wide array of topics as well as reference materials, they've presented excellent programs for children and adults. Such programs have included special appearances/readings by authors, guest speakers on everything from personal finance to literacy topics, after-school programs to encourage reading, and a place to access the Internet free of charge for those who do not have computer access at home.

If libraries are kept open, they could also play a role in reducing crime by giving neighborhood youngsters a place for positive reinforcement, be encouraged to both read and do better in school. Some libraries are now offering e-books, making them even more available to a wider reading audience, an added benefit to both authors and book lovers.

With all the aforementioned in mind, would you consider spending $2.09 a month to help your local libraries if your city gave you the option to vote on such a proposal? Two dollars doesn't stretch very far in today's economy, but if it keeps the doors open to something as important as our libraries, that small change in the sofa is worth spending.

Read more about about City of Pittsburgh residents' opportunity to vote November 8 at this link: Our city, our libraries: Vote Yes to sustain the Carnegie system.

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