"Now, not long after all 15 [Jackson County Library] branches were rebuilt or remodeled, every one will be shuttered in what's being called the largest library shutdown in the United States. The crisis in southern Oregon can be traced not only to changing funding priorities on Capitol Hill, but also to crooked railroad deals in the Wild West, a spotted owl and a shrinking timber harvest," says an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The percentage of a state that is federally owned can dramatically affect state and county income from property taxes and even income taxes. Oregon is 52% federally owned (a lot of our forests). East of the Rocky Mountains, the Feds typically own 5% or less of each state.
The government has been making up for that difference for a long time, but no more. In November, voters rejected a property tax levy because they still thought the Federal govenment would come through.
Library supporters are trying again. They put an identical property tax levy on the upcoming May ballot. But in order to pass, 50 percent of the registered voters have to participate in the election, and a majority of them have to vote yes. (Thanks a lot, stupid tax protestors.)
The interim library director says, "Libraries are so much more than just libraries in rural areas. This is where all the town meetings are held, where all the kids come after school, where everything -- everything -- happens." Read more here.
This just makes me so sad. We were poor, growing up. I lived at the libary. Let's just say there's not a lot to do in Medford. Without the library, I'm not sure what I would have done.