Two Pennies for Lots of Thoughts

When libraries are partially funded by teensy fractions of property taxes, and property values sink year after year, a problem arises: How do we keep the libraries open?

In Henderson, that problem has come to a breaking point. In November, the Galleria Library and Malcolm Library will be shuttered and their staffs laid off if budgets aren’t fattened. To that end, the library district has proposed a pocket-change increase in taxes: 2 cents per $100 of assessed property values.

The libraries currently get 5.75 cents per $100 assessed property values; the initiative would make that 7.75 cents. It would be the first such tax increase for the Henderson Libraries since 1991.

So, a word about libraries: If you’ll recall, they’re otherwise free to the public. You can borrow books without a rental fee. You can borrow DVDs without a rental fee, read magazines, see art exhibits, find a cool, quiet place to set up your laptop without buying a $5 cup of coffee, find out about community events, nostalgically roam the stacks and people-watch a rich cross-section of neighbors.

If you’re thinking, Bah, books are on the way out! E-books are the future! I’m reading this on my iPhone!—well, kudos. But there’s a swath of the population that goes to the library to access the Internet on public computers, and that’s another solid investment in community paid for by a pinch of taxes.

The initiative goes before voters in November.