Source: Sherman Publications

New district library launches campaign for bond

by Mary Keck

October 03, 2012

To move into the 21st century, the library has reestablished itself under current laws as the Clarkston Independence District Library, and the Library Yes! group hopes voters will support a mill rate that would allow the library to serve contemporary needs.

Since the library was established in 1965, it continued operating under Public Act 269, which was repealed in 1975. Now that Independence Township and the City of the Village of Clarkston have agreed to institute a District library, it has re-established under current and valid laws.

Not only was the library operating under a law repealed in the mid-70s, it currently operates with a mill rate that has never increased beyond the .75 rate it had upon opening in 1965. Library Yes! wants that to change.

On November 6, voters will decide if they want to replace the library’s current .691 millage rate with a 1.25 rate, an increase of .559 mills.

According to Jeanne Molzon, who serves on the District library board and is co-chair of Library Yes!, the new mill rate would support improvements such as computer replacements, expansion of the e-book collection, additional children’s programming, classes for lifelong learning, and an increase in the books, music, and movies available to check out.

With more funding, the library would be able to develop a capital improvement plan to prepare for maintenance of their 20-year-old building and hire staff for children’s services and community outreach programs.

This is an increase of $56 per year for an average $200,000 home or the cost of two hardcover books, Molzon pointed out.

She compares the funding for the Clarkston Independence District Library to nearby Orion Township library. Orion serves a population of 33,463 and has a mill rate of 1.4189 whereas Independence has 33,543 people with a millage that is .7279 less.

Since 2009, the library’s revenues have declined from 5-10 percent each year causing full and part-time staff cuts, elimination of all after school programs, and a reduction of the book, music, and movie budget by 43 percent.

Molzon notes the reduced staff at the library has resulted in longer lines at service desks and longer turn-around times for items checked out to be returned to circulation.

Even though the library has been serving many patrons, “if this millage does not pass we will be facing another revenue drop of approximately $125,000, an additional budget cut of nearly 10 percent,” said Molzon. To find out more go to clarkstonindependencelibraryyes.com.