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Letter: Library bond will cost less than $3/month per household

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By Ron and Susan Jackson

(Oct. 25, 2011) The library serves the public in many ways. The ones that come first to mind are free and easy access to information and entertainment via books, computers, video and audio tapes, newspapers and magazines, but it also provides meeting areas where groups can come together for a variety of purposes ranging from book discussions to cultural displays to symposiums on any of a number of issues.  Its popularity is attested to by the amount of usage it receives,

The Ames Community Library is just not able to adequately provide everything the public wants as the building is now.  We desperately need a larger building.  It is extremely disturbing to realize that the current situation is so inadequate that one item must be discarded for every new item acquired. The library is also unable to provide enough meeting spaces to meet demand.

Enlarging and improving the building is not inexpensive, but if well done it will last for a long time. A modernized heating/cooling system means that we can have a much larger space with no rise in energy costs. Even if the bond is not approved, millions will have to be spent in renovating th library within its current confines and we will still not have enough room.

The cost of the bond to the taxpayer will not exceed $30 per year per $100,000 property valuation. That is less than $3 a month per household!  Consider how much we as a community benefit from having the library as a resource, how much we use it, and how little the increase will be per use, then join us in voting for the library bond.

I think there are some math books at the Library

There are about 18,0000 households in Ames and the library wants to borrow $18 million so that's $1,000 per household not $30. We also already paying about $200 per household already for the library. For $7.25 million we could buy every man women and child in Ames in Kindle, close the library and use the money they spend every year allow people to buy books they would actually want to read. We could then limit to Ames residents. I see my friends from Collins, Nevada, Boone, Gilbert, Huxley, Hamilton county etc. all regularly using the library - they don't contribute a dime in taxes. I'm not ready to spend my tax dollars to expand services for the entire region - want to serve a 4 county area - collect taxes from Polk, Boone, Hamilton, and Story counties - otherwise limit the library use to those paying for it and we will have plenty of space.

Not *exactly* true.

While I understand where you are coming from in your comment, and there's a certain amount of truth in what you're saying, it's not exactly 100% true.

There are more than just Ames property taxes that go to support local public libraries. Public libraries receive funding from both the County Supervisors as well as the Iowa Library Association (which is funded at the state level).

So for tax funding, each library is assigned a percentage of the available money based on their use. Not just how many books are checked out, but other things as well. So if a person from Collins or Nevada, or wherever comes to the Ames Library and uses a computer/checks out some books/checks out a few DVD's/whatever, they get counted in the percentage for the Ames Library, not their own library. So Ames gets the tax funding for them, not their own library.

And this is why you will so often find library staff in small libraries with "counter-clickers" in their hands, or setting next to them on the counter. (Virtually all larger libraries have automated the statistics-keeping.) Libraries are required to keep statistics on every obvious thing that happens in the library, as well as some things that most of the public isn't even aware of.

Since a library gets use-credit, for example, on every book checked out, if residents of other cities check out books at the Ames library, it means the Ames library is going to get a larger percentage of the funding from the County Supervisors. The funding from the ILA works basically the same way.

So yes, in a round-about way, people from Collins, Nevada, Boone, Gilbert, Huxley, Hamilton county do "pay their way" when they use the Ames Public Library.

You may also find this information about Iowa's "Open Access" libraries interesting:

*Not Exactly True...But Mostly True*

State and county funding of libraries is small and shrinking, and people form Collins, Nevada, Gilbert, Huxley, Hamilton county pay no more in their taxes for using our self-described outstanding library. We could charge the price of $3 a month or $36 a year for a library card for the users outside Ames. If Ron and Sue think this is such a bargain for the Ames taxpayers, it will be a far bigger bargain for those outside Ames who don't pay the base taxes to support the library. I would love to hear some stats on how many people outside Ames have an active library card, I bet it is in the thousands. Charge them to help pay some fair share amount for the library and I would vote for the expansion.

This is a no kidding, but this week I was in line at book drop in the alley on the way to work and there were three cars ahead of me, saw the plates as the pulled out, Boone, Hamilton, and Polk county. I am not too enthusiastic about paying more to wait in line longer behind more people who take advantage of expanded library services that they don't contribute to. Overheard a bunch of ladies at work talking up how we should support the library expansion the that we need the expanded service but NONE OF THEM LIVE IN AMES.

I bought my house in Ames

about 12 years ago. It could be more by now. I'm too lazy to look it up. But it's been at least 12 years.

And I still have Des Moines county plates on my car. When you move, you register your car in your new county, but they don't give you new plates (unless you ask for them, and pay extra.)

So just looking at a car's tags isn't always fool-proof evidence of where they live or pay taxes.

Plus, of course, you can live in west Ames and be in Boone County. If you do all your grocery shopping and everything else in Ames, it would be much more convenient to use the Ames Library than driving all the way into Boone.

And....again....even if those people do live outside of Ames, they're "contributing" to the funding Ames gets from the ILA by simply "using" the Ames Library.

Nice bot not needed

I will vote no for the library bond because it is a luxury in these economic times. If I thought that adding extra square footage to a library that is already good would help to grow Ames, I would vote for it. But this wont happen so my vote is no.

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