Sunday, February 12, 2006

Boise Library Bond Fails

In last week's Boise library bond election, the community voted 57% to 43% in favor of the bond measure to build 3 new libraries in Boise. This vote failed to meet the two-thirds super majority required to increase the taxes to pay for the libraries.

I did not vote in this particular election, as I was struggling with which way to vote. In general, I support public libraries and am not opposed to paying more tax for services that predominantly benefit the lower income portions of our society. I also like the reuse model that a library promotes. It is much more efficient on our natural resources. My dilemma came in two areas: the centralized versus distributed model and priorities in general.

Centralized versus distributed: The distributed library model requires much more redundancies in the assets that are available. We must buy 4 copies of the same book, instead of buying 3 more unique titles. Computers in one library must sit idle, which computers in other libraries have a waiting line. Of course, at some point the scale of Boise is too large to support a single location. I am just not sure if we are there yet.

Priorities: Of the issues I would like to see funded, and would happily pay tax to support, libraries unfortunately don't rise the the top of the list. Number one, as you can probably tell from my blog, would be public transportation. The money required for the three libraries would support a large expansion in the public transportation system in Boise. This would make it very efficient for people to travel to the library we currently have. I will continue my personal work to this end.

In the end, I didn't vote and I remain undecided on the issue. The families who live in the portions of Boise furthest from the library, still don't have efficient access. I am not convinced that Idaho is a better place as a result.

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