Funding local libraries in Washington and Oregon has always been a struggle—and even more so in tough economic times. The Multnomah County Library system relies mostly on levies and bonds and Seattle funds its libraries from the City’s general fund.
While Multnomah County won’t face another election for some time Seattle’s prospects are looking dim this budget season.
One point library advocates can make is that libraries reduce green house gas emissions and save tax dollars. In Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet, Eric Sorensen points out that one typical library prevents 250 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year just from the paper it doesn’t use. Sorenson also found that the King County Library system saved taxpayers $5 for $1 spent on libraries from realized savings from not buying new books, compact discs and magazines.
Read more about the other six wonders here.
UPDATE 04/17/2009 The Seattle Public Library is likely to take some major cuts to service this year. The plan to save money includes closing the libraries for a week.
Yay, libraries! A well-supported library system is a measure of civilization. If we cut back on library funding, we’re slipping further into the muck.