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So Measure K failed - now what?

Friends of the Lincoln Library column
By: Karen Jarrell, Special to The News Messenger
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By now, everyone must know that Measure K, which would have placed a utility user’s tax on Lincoln residents and businesses, failed in the Nov. 2 election. So what happens now? How will the libraries be funded? While the Friends of the Lincoln Library has assurances from the City Council and its members (at council and other public meetings) that the Twelve Bridges and Carnegie libraries are fully funded through the city’s fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, the council’s initial thoughts for the 2011-2012 fiscal year were rather bleak. At the Tuesday, Oct. 26 council meeting, two options for our libraries were presented if Measure K did not pass: Close both libraries or keep the Carnegie Library open at the hours it was open before the building of the Twelve Bridges Library (34 hours a week) and close the Twelve Bridges Library. These were the only options presented at this meeting. All council members present at that meeting indicated that, without further information, they would choose the second option. Obviously, there are some potential legal problems associated with closing the Twelve Bridges Library due to the breaking of the grant agreement with the California State Library for a $10.4 million grant and breaking the joint use cooperative agreement with Western Placer Unified School District and Sierra College. Also obvious is that programs like “Mother Goose on the Loose” would be discontinued as the Carnegie Library has no way of supporting two sessions once a week where the attendance is around 100 at each session. Other programs for children and adults could also be discontinued. Services such as computer use would severely decline as the Carnegie Library has seven public computers while the Twelve Bridges Library has 38. The Friends are committed to doing whatever is feasible to keep both libraries open and fully functioning at least at the level they are today. The Friends will be working with the library director and other city officials to present additional options. However, we will need your voice and support to keep these two libraries open and operating. This means raising funds and finding other ways for the libraries to increase their budgets to make this happen. While we have some ideas on how to raise additional dollars, we are hopeful you will contribute your thoughts as well. The more ideas the Friends have to work with, the greater our chances of finding solutions. There will be a brief discussion of this issue at our Friends General Membership meeting Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Twelve Bridges Library in the Pine Room after a report by the library director. There also will be a special General Membership meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 2:15 p.m. in the Twelve Bridges Library, which will be solely to discuss this issue. This meeting is open to all interested parties regardless of membership in the Friends. While no date has been set, the Friends will probably have another evening meeting in late January as well. In the meantime, if you have suggestions and recommendations, please feel free to share them with the Friends at FOLL@live.com. We have already started our 2011 fundraisers for donations to “Mother Goose on the Loose” in hopes we can keep the Twelve Bridges Library open. Funds are Save Our Libraries (SOL) – funds used for needs at both libraries; SOL/Carnegie – funds used for the Carnegie Library only; and SOL/Carnegie Dinner – see below for more information. If you would like to donate to any of our present SOL funds, please make your check payable to FOLL and note which fund you wish the dollars to go to in your memo line. Donations can be sent to: FOLL, P O Box 394, Lincoln, CA 95648 attn: Treasurer – Donations. FOLL is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 12 for a very special SOL/ Carnegie Dinner with raffles, auctions, entertainment and good fellowship with others in Lincoln who care about our libraries. Cost will be $50 per person. More information will be forthcoming. Please add your voice and support for our Carnegie and Twelve Bridges libraries by attending the meetings mentioned above. Your support could make the difference as to whether both libraries are kept open in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Karen Jarrell is the Friends of the Lincoln Library president.