Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Library Levy Election Results - 2010

I don't know if anyone is interested, but I checked the final library levy election results and found some interesting statistics. The affluent island community posted a strong YES vote and most of the town to the north was slightly YES. One small precinct that would benefit most from a new library at the north end of the county showed a strong YES vote (551 to 338), but the other precincts nearby were NO. The interesting result is the central county where the library planned to build a huge new building - just about all NO and in many precincts by a large margin (I guess they don't want a mega-library there). All points south were more than 60% NO.

I think most county residents could have estimated these results without running an election. I wonder why it is so difficult for the people who get paid the big bucks to figure it out. When I said before that the Library Administration and Library Board were out of touch, maybe I was right.


  1. Thanks for these details and your thoughts, Dottie Mae. I don't know if the administration is "out of touch"; I think they have a positive and ambitious vision for the future of the district, a future that will benefit all library users and raise the quality of life in the county. The problem comes when that vision is caught up with their ambitions for themselves, not necessarily materially but certainly emotionally. I believe that the members of this administration have a personal investment in their professional roles that distorts some of their decisions. When you want something so badly, and you know it will be good for so many people (including yourself), it can be hard to postpone the dream no matter what the negative indicators. Hm, maybe that does make them out of touch, but it's more like not wanting to hear things that go against the plan.

    I hate seeing the bad numbers for the central county. Heaven knows there are people there who are passionate about seeing a new library, especially if it can be part of a long-planned civic development project there. It didn't help that the library branch manager left when she did; she could have helped get out the good word, and it sure seemed like she wanted to (I guess you never can tell what people are really thinking). In retrospect, maybe the decision to focus the levy PAC on turning out likely yes voters, rather than attempting to sway likely no voters, may have worked against the levy effort, although it seemed like a positive strategy at the time.

    More belt-tightening will be needed a few years from now without a levy lid lift. My heart goes out to library staff struggling to keep up with the extremely lean staffing. Here's hoping the county will get better news soon.

  2. Just so you know - the manager at the library located in the central county did not leave because she wanted to. I don't have all the details, but I know the former Library Manager irritated the Library Director because she stood up to her on some important issues. The mysterious resignation of this person (who by the way was hired by the current Library Director in 2009) is part of a consistent pattern of bullying staff members who disagree. Quoting your line, "not wanting things to go against the plan" and self interest is a theme that runs through most of the problems at the library.

    I agree that it would be good for the county to have a strong library system, but I (and apparently most of the county voters) disagree with the size and scope of the new libraries and programs that were proposed. Bigger is not always better.

    The Library Administration and Library Board need to address some critical internal issues so they can work with rather than against the staff at this difficult time. The people who work at this library are the most valuable asset the system has and they should be treated that way even when they disagree with the Library Director.