February 10, 2016

Winning All Over the Map | Budgets & Funding


On the face of it, 2014 looks like it was a pretty good year for libraries at the ballot box: some 148 libraries reporting for this tally won and 42 lost. About 78% of libraries passed funding, bonds, or authority measures in 2014. Over 1.7 million Americans voted yes for their libraries. Only 22% lost. While unfortunate, it doesn’t seem tragic or perilous. But at EveryLibrary, we’re worried about the 1.1 million Americans who voted no this year.

Library PAC Will Back Local Ballot Questions

EveryLibrary logo

EveryLibrary is creating a new twist on the saying “think globally, act locally.” The new political action committee (PAC), a non-partisan 501c4 organization, will raise funds nationally and spend them in support of local library ballot initiatives like taxes, bonds, and referenda. It will also serve as a political campaign consultancy for libraries. “EveryLibrary is […]

Powerful Partnerships: Shared Buildings | Library by Design, Spring 2012


Libraries sharing buildings with centers of recreation and learning report that their partners bring exposure to new users. Libraries are also forming partnerships to share buildings with other agencies focused on education, such as colleges and historic societies. In the East Bay Area of California, the Lafayette Library and Learning Center building is shared by the library and the Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium, a partnership of 12 education, science, and arts institutions.

Library Referenda 2011: Voters Keep the Doors Open


The referenda landscape of 2011 was punctuated by strong voter support to keep library doors open—but little more. Libraries took a cue from three long years of budget cuts, a struggling economy, dwindling consumer confidence, and weary taxpayers and ventured out to voters with markedly restrained requests.

Library Referenda 2010: Vote of Confidence

By Beth Dempsey Despite tough antitax sentiment, libraries win 87% of operating and 55% of building referenda Amid a bitter political climate, punctuated by the rise of a virulent antitax group, voters overwhelmingly entrusted their libraries with their tax dollars in referenda held between December 1, 2009, and November 30, 2010. Operating revenue measures passed […]

Library Referenda 2009: Voters Step Up

By Beth Dempsey Libraries win 84% of operating and 54% of building referenda in 2009 Despite the grim economic circumstances in 2009, voters delivered an overwhelming vote of confidence to their local libraries. In fact, 84 percent of all operating referenda passed nationwide. Just a few of the successes: in Michigan, where the unemployment rate […]

Library Referenda 2008: Libraries Build the Case for Voter Support

By Beth Dempsey Strategies from 2008 for an even tougher 2009 Could there be a worse time to ask voters for money to support libraries? America in 2008 was distinguished by a rapidly downward-spiraling economy, a controversial war, and a President with the lowest approval rating in history. The first quarter of the year was […]

Library Referenda 2007: A Mixed Ballot Bag

By Christopher Freeman The measures reported did well overall, though planning and parsimony were big factors According to the results of LJ’s latest annual referenda survey, covering measures held between December 1, 2006, and November 30, 2007, voters approved both operating and building referenda at very high rates. If your library reported a referendum this […]

Library Referenda 2006: Thumbs Up, and Down

By Anne Marie Gold Higher passage rates bode well, but big losses dampen the outlook If you wanted to win a library election in 2006, what would have been the mythical perfect referenda? For building referenda, the sweet spot was hit with measures over $10 million, on a ballot sometime between September and December, with […]

Library Referenda 2005: By the People

Dramatic ups and downs at the polls mean harder work to garner support Tiered proposals worked but took a bite from the bottom line, Salinas found eventual success, and leveraging the grass-roots power of volunteers proved essential in a year where library ballots faced off with national and international impact from a series of natural […]