HB 2379 will HURT Arizona libraries!

librarianship

Here’s the deal: Representative Justin Olson has introduced this bill into the House of Representatives that will drastically cut the funding of library districts in Arizona.

This bill seeks to change the tax levies so that they cannot flex with community need. At present, the Board of Supervisors can set the tax levy each year up to $0.20 per every $100 of property tax. The limits on this levy is self-imposed and allows the districts to increase or decrease the levy as needed. The proposed bill will create a uniform limit for the entire state.

This is an especially horrible time for this action. The two largest library districts in the state, Maricopa County Library District (full disclosure: this is my employer) and the Pima County Library District (full disclosure: I like them), in an effort to save tax payers money, voluntarily lowered the tax levy this year to reduce the accumulated tax fund balance. This year’s levy is too atypical to base a long-term standard upon.

Library districts need to adapt to the needs of their communities. A one-size-fits-all tax levy simply will not work. The library districts in Arizona have never been accused of abusing their authority, and, what’s more, they provide valuable service to all of the libraries in their geographic areas.

If this bill passes, it will have this effect on the Maricopa County Library District:

  • Elimination of 64 full-time positions (goodbye staff)
  • Nearly 200 hours per week of library services will be cut (goodbye convenient hours)
  • All programming will be eliminated (goodbye storytime)
  • Half of the electronic resources made available across the County will be eliminated (goodbye research)
  • District libraries will have to cut 33% from materials budgets (goodbye books)

And that’s just in one district. Now multiply that by all the districts in the state.

Contact your legislators (find them at www.azleg.gov) and ask them to vote down this bill.

  • Ask your library advocates, friends and staff to email your Representatives by Monday, February 3rd, at 5:00pm. Click for legislative contact info: House

Here are some HB2379 Talking Points created by the AzLA for you to use when you talk to your legislators.

Here is a document that tells you exactly what the ramifications of this bill would be for Maricopa County (Prepared by Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget).

*drops mic*

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