The Boise City Council has wisely scheduled a bond election next February 7 asking voters permission to spend $30 million for branch libraries.
The GUARDIAN supports libraries in concept and practice. If the City wants the measure to pass, they need to play fair and honest with voters–something that has been lacking in the past. Land was purchased for an east Boise site which needs to be sold and re-invested.
Here are some basic caveats (“warnings” to you non-library users):
–Don’t use public money in any campaign to get the bond passed.
–Be ready to change proposed locations, especially a move from Park Center to Federal Way for one branch.
–LISTEN to the public about what WE want and how much WE will pay. Forget about consultants and “national standards” because WE pay and WE use the library!
–Be prepared to combine libraries with other neighborhood city services such as police, fire, or parks. We like common sense financial ideas.
—Sell the branches as “information centers” offering knowledge via books, CD, video, on-line, etc. and you will have an easy sale.
–Show us there is plenty of tax revenue to properly staff and stock the branches because new buildings which are closed several days a week and short on books and computers are not a good investment.
–Tell us up front how much EXTRA it will cost annually to staff the new branches (the GUARDIAN estimates it will be close to $2 million). Let’s hear it up front and not from opponents.
Simply put: Be flexible and don’t try to stack the deck with surveys, consultants, staff reports, and a committee’s dreams. Scam us and nothing will get passed. Boise citizens are good people and will gladly pony up the cash for something we all want and need. TRUST us.
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