Voters cast ballots for libraries in 2000

Contact: Larra Clark

(312) 280-5043

ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

November 2000

Voters cast ballots for libraries in 2000

Voters across the country had a lot to think about in last week’s election. Not only were they voting for the next leader of the United States, many also were deciding the future of one of their most precious local resources – their public libraries. More than 60 measures affecting libraries were on ballots across the country from rural districts to large cities, and more than half of these decisions favored libraries.

American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association (ALA), will publish a round-up of election results in its December issue. Results are available now
online. San Jose, Calif., appears to have approved the largest funding proposal in 2000. Measure O will raise $211.8 million to build new branches in underserved areas, expand existing libraries and add available seats and computers in all of them.

San Francisco, Alameda and Berkeley also passed measures to improve library buildings and/or services with the two-thirds vote necessary in California to increase taxes. A proposal to raise more than $11 million to support libraries in Contra Costa County failed with 65.8 percent of yes votes.

Minneapolis, Minn., also was a big winner on election night. Residents approved a $140 million referendum to build a new central library and renovate existing branches. Baltimore, Md., voters approved proposals to sell $90 million in bonds. Voters in 24 states considered funding measures that affect libraries.

“Americans have voted loudly and clearly to improve library services in their communities,” said ALA President Nancy Kranich. “Citizens throughout the country have affirmed libraries are more essential than ever to building smart communities in the information age.”

Statewide initiatives that would have capped or cut tax revenues were rejected in Alaska and Colorado and passed in Washington.

American Libraries circulates to about 60,000 ALA members and more than 3,000 institutional subscribers.