December 29, 2015
LIBRARIES CELEBRATE PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT
Since 1999, Solano County Library has celebrated “Promises Made, Promises Kept,” in January, with a series of local events to mark the 1/8th of a penny sales tax directly benefiting libraries in the county. This year the celebration marks the beginning of year two, as the original measure that helped fund libraries from 1999-2014 is extended by one that passed in 2012, renewing the fractional sales tax until the year 2030.
In 1998, libraries in Solano County were in a downward spiral: shelves were empty, hours were inconsistent and the closing of branches became a very real possibility. Voters stepped up and passed the 1/8th of a cent sales tax to save their libraries. In return, they were promised more books, more hours, and more programs for youth.
In 2012, voters recognized that even during the difficult years of the recession, the promises made in 1998 were kept, and they voted with an overwhelming majority of 80% to extend the sales tax for 16 more years. “We did what we said we were going to do. Even during the recession when our income dropped by 25%, we maintained our hours as well as our collection and programs,” said Bonnie Katz, Solano County’s director of library services.
During the economic downturn the Library had become a hub of activities that were moving the community forward: free employment help, free foreclosure workshops, free Internet access and free literacy programs for adults and children.
The post-recession Library is full of possibilities. “We are embarking on a new strategic plan to address the needs and the strengths of our communities,” said Katz. “Embracing new technologies helped us weather the financial storm of the recession. In the future, we expect technology to help us bring the Library to more people and with more convenience.”
Even as the Library expands its reach and achieves economies through technology, low-tech and personal services flourish. The Library’s free online, on-demand tutoring service connects students with tutors long after the library is closed, but children still visit the library for storytimes, homework help and the opportunity to read to a dog. E-book borrowing was up 36% in the last fiscal year, and the Library’s online magazine service Zinio offers over 100 magazines, yet printed books and magazines maintain their popularity. The Library’s Discover and Go program combines in-person discovery with online ease when library card holders print free museum passes from their home computers. “Now that our funding is once again stable, we will continue to keep our promises as we look to the future. One thing for sure, the Library will always be a place, in-person and online, for transformation and positive change,” said Katz.
Promises Made, Promises Made Events
Rio Vista Library
44 South Second Street Rio Vista, CA 94571
Coventry and Kaluza Circus Performers
Fairfield Civic Center Library
1150 Kentucky St Fairfield, CA 94533
Birds of Prey: Davis Raptors
Vacaville Cultural Center Library
1020 Ulatis Drive Vacaville, CA 95687
Tommy's Space Adventure: Puppet Art Theater
Fairfield Cordelia Library
5050 Business Center Drive Fairfield, CA 94534
Author Visit: Margaret Lucke
3 p.m. - Discussion of writing and getting published
6 p.m. - Her own story
Vacaville Town Square Library
1 Town Square Place Vacaville, CA 95688
Germar the Magician
Suisun City Library
601 Pintail Drive Suisun City, CA 94585
Dalt Williams Jazz Ensemble
John F. Kennedy Library
505 Santa Clara Street Vallejo, CA 94590
Afternoon Play Date
Springstowne Library, Vallejo
1003 Oakwood Avenue Vallejo, CA 94591
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