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Proposal to Create a "Douglas County Library District"

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Why do we need a new "Library District"?
Answer: The amount of money that Douglas county gets every year from property taxes is not even enough to pay for the Sheriff's Department, let alone parks, the fairground, the museum, and libraries. We used to get more money from timber harvests on federal land, but those harvests have been reduced for decades. Creating a special taxing district dedicated exclusively to the libraries would make the library system independent, give us a sustainable source of funding, and keep our libraries open.

2. Question: How much will it cost?
Answer: Forty-four cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value: $0.44/$1,000. That means the owner of a Douglas County home assessed at $150,000 would pay $66/year ... around $5.50 per month.

3. Question: How much are we already paying in property taxes for the library?
Answer: Nothing ...and we never have.

4. Question: What happens if we don't create a new Library District?
Answer: The Library system will shut down in 2017 because the County has no funds to operate it.

5. Question: How many libraries are we talking about?
Answer: Ten now. The City of Sutherlin has opted out.

6. Question: Why can't we run our libraries with volunteers?
Answer: We already have many volunteers, and they do 20% of the work. But because they haven't had professional training, they can't provide the same kinds of services that trained librarians provide. And because volunteers aren't paid, they don't have to show up.

7. Question: Why don't we just charge for library cards?
Answer: In Oregon, public libraries are not permitted to charge a fee for library services. Charging for library cards and library services goes against the very meaning of a "public library." We don't charge people to go to "public schools," either.

8. Question: Do people even use libraries anymore?
Answer: YES! In 2015, we checked out more than half a million items. In addition to books, our libraries provide Internet access, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, newspapers, programs for kids and teens, meeting space for people and activities, and trained librarians to help people find and use everything.

9. Question: Why can't every city run their own library?
There would be no funding for library staff to purchase/repair/catalog the collection, no computerized catalog of the collection, and no interlibrary loan.

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