Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if Measure 20-235 does not pass?
If Measure 20-235 is not approved by voters, Library services will remain as they are now.Would renters pay?
City of Eugene residents who rent, rather than own, their home or apartment, do not receive property tax bills. Rental property owners build in the cost of property taxes when setting rent amounts.I’m confused. In recent years, hasn’t the City been focused on reducing costs, not adding?
Yes. In response to the national economic crisis of 2008, the City of Eugene took many steps to “right-size” and save money. A number of these steps affected Eugene Public Library services.
In July 2010: the materials budget (books, movies, online resources, etc.) was reduced by $300,000. Other portions of the Library’s budget were also reduced, requiring adjustments to services.
In July 2012: open hours were cut by half at both the Bethel Branch and Sheldon Branch.
In July 2014: three open hours were cut each Sunday at the Downtown Library.
As the economy has improved, the City has heard from Eugeneans who want to see some of these Library services restored. Measure 20-235 is the City Council’s way of asking the voters if, at this time, they would like to expand Library services in specific ways, at a specific cost, for a specific length of time.Why doesn’t this measure propose to simply restore services to the way they were before the cuts?
In coordination with the budget reductions, cost-saving efficiencies have been implemented over the last few years. The proposed expanded services would restore some services (such as adding back open hours at Bethel and Sheldon Branches) in the context of addressing the anticipated needs of the community going into the future.If Measure 20-235 passes, would that create more jobs at the Library?
Yes. Expanding Library services would include some personnel costs including added positions, such as restoring staff hours at Bethel and Sheldon Branches.What does “support for young readers and their parents” mean?
One of Eugene Public Library’s priorities is helping the youngest Eugeneans get “ready to read’ before they start school. Research shows that children’s future success in school and life are closely connected to early involvement with literacy. From birth, children’s brains are developing in ways that will help or limit their abilities as they grow. Eugene Public Library offers young children and their parents opportunities to build crucial skills from the start, providing information and guidance about easy ways to incorporate learning into everyday life. In addition to books, CDs, DVDs, and other materials, the Library provides age-specific storytimes, learning activities, performances, and more, free of charge. The Library also offers Storytime-To-Go, a program that brings Library-quality storytimes to Eugene children at low-income daycare settings.Would levy funds replace money that now comes to the Library from the City’s General Fund?
No. The City has committed to maintaining the existing level of Library services using General Fund support. If passed, the levy funds would be added to the existing support in order to increase open hours, programs, materials, and technology for five years.
The levy measure text includes specific requirements for accountability and transparency about spending, including: separate levy fund budget and accounting (as per state law); annual staff summary of spending and performance measures; annual review by the citizen Library Advisory Board; and an annual City Manager’s report to City Council. All documents would be available to the public.Which levy-funded items would restore services? Which would be brand new?
The levy funds would be used in three areas: hours, programs, and materials and technology.
Hours: Before 2012, Bethel and Sheldon Branches were open 56 hours each week; the Downtown Library was open 64 hours per week. Recession-related budget reductions in 2012 and 2014 reduced open hours to current levels: Bethel and Sheldon Branches are now open 26 hours per week; the Downtown Library is open 61 hours per week. If the levy is approved, most of the open hours would be restored: Bethel and Sheldon Branches would be open 48 hours weekly; the Downtown Library would return to 64 hours weekly.
Programs: If the levy passes, programs would be increased 33%. This would provide expanded access to existing programs by adding sessions of in-demand programs; offering more programs at Bethel and Sheldon Branches; and bringing programs to Eugeneans at off-site locations such as day cares, community centers, and senior residences. The funding would also support new classes, workshops, and events to more fully meet evolving community needs.
Materials and technology: In recent years, recession-related budget reductions cut the Library’s funding for materials (books, movies, eBooks, online tools, etc.). The levy would provide $300,000 to restore this budget to 2009 levels. In the area of technology, levy funds would allow purchase of new equipment in order to meet increasing demands for current services. For example, public Internet access is an existing, high-demand service at the Library. The desktop computers at Bethel and Sheldon Branches cannot meet demand in those neighborhoods, but there is no physical room for additional stations in the Branch buildings. If approved, the levy would fund purchase of new, space-saving computer tablets and laptops for on-site use, which would double access to an existing service at the Branches.Would the Library use more volunteers if the levy is approved by voters?
Yes. Community volunteers expand the Library’s ability to serve more people efficiently. Levy funding would provide organizational support to engage more volunteers to support the increased hours and use of all Library services, and specifically to expand volunteer-delivered services such as Storytime-To-Go programs for children at low-income daycares.When will my ballot arrive in the mail?
According to Lane County Elections Division, voters in Eugene, Springfield, and South Lane Fire District can expect ballots for the November 3 election to arrive in the mail by October 20. If you expect a ballot but have not received one by October 21, contact Lane County Elections Division: www.lanecounty.org/elections or 541-682-4234.I have another question.
For help with additional questions, please call the Eugene City Manager’s office at 541-682-5010. Answers to frequently asked questions will be added to this page.