Opinion

Support your local library

Kitsap Regional Library is requesting a levy lid lift, something the organization has not done since 1979.

For 28 years our local library has sustained and in recent years has utilized reserve funds, but with a 67 percent increase in the number of residents who actively use the library coupled with the impact of Initiative 747, which limits KRL to a 1 percent increase in tax revenue per year plus new construction, our library needs the support of its community.

In its 55-year history, this levy election is only the second time KRL has gone to the voters.

Our library provides an essential service and a world of knowledge that is crucial to our future and to our community. If passed, the measure would increase the levy to 48 cents per $1,000 or an $18 increase per $100,000 of assessed property value. As assessed value has increased, the levy rate has decreased and has dropped consecutively since 2001. The current levy rate is at 30 cents per $1,000.

For the average homeowner with an assessed property value of $300,000, the cost of supporting this levy will be less than $60 a year. That’s less than $5 a month for free access to more than 740,000 books, DVDs, CDs and more. Patrons can stroll in anytime and access the Internet, Wi-Fi, word processing computers and copy machines as well.

There’s many library services KRL offers that the average library patron may not know about including a bookmobile which brings books to outlying communities as well as services for homebound seniors and community and school support.

The majority of people have utilized KRL’s resources at least once. Currently, the library serves more than 176,000 active library patrons who have used their cards within the last two years. That’s more than 73 percent of Kitsap County’s population.

It’s important we support our library now so future generations can benefit from the services that many currently enjoy. With much of the money from the levy, if passed, to go toward maintaining existing services, the money also will fund additional library services and collections, enhanced technology, greater access to library resources, additional library support and improved library facilities.

With nine branches throughout the county, KRL already offers a variety of vital services including storytimes and learning activities for children, a 24-hour online library and even live homework help with online tutoring.

If passed, the money generated from the levy will help meet increasing demand for the next five to six years.

“We’re going to pull this money out for five to six years,” said library director Jill Jean. “We’re very good tax stewards; we’ll get blood out of the turnip if we have to. We are not interested in doing this (levy request) every single year.”

The passage of this levy request could mean much more to the people of Central Kitsap who are in need of a new, larger library. The community has outgrown the tiny building and parking is typically a nightmare. The construction of a new Silverdale library weighs heavily on this measure.

Support your library and support your community, vote yes on May 15.

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