Citizens’ group spearheading library millage campaign

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Tecumseh District Library. Photo by Jim Lincoln.

The vote for renewal of 1.15 mills and an additional .20 mill for the support of Tecumseh District Library is only four weeks away and organizers of the independent citizen group that has been organized to promote the millage request has been making its case to the public through presentations at various venues and through publication of pamphlets available at the library and other locations. There will be two proposals. The first is for the renewal of 1.15 operational millage and the second is for an additional .20 mill to keep the programs, new equipment acquisition, and circulation materials at their current levels.

The referendum will be on Tuesday, May 7, and most residents who live in the Tecumseh Public School district are eligible to vote. Polling places are Raisin Township Community Center on Gady Road and Raisin Township Fire Station, 5525 S. Occidental Highway.

The citizen-led group, Ballot Question Committee (BQC), also is making sure that the public is aware that even if the renewal millage is approved, the library will not be able to maintain the services that patrons have come to expect unless a supplemental levy, known formally as Proposal 2, for .20 mill is approved also.

BQC chairperson Anne Walker reviewed the history of improvements to the library over the last 10 years for those present at a meeting of the Tecumseh School Board recently and explained the necessity for approval of both millage proposals.

Walker explained that for a home with a value of $100,000 the combined levy, if both proposals pass, would be $5.62 per month. Library director Gayle Hazelbaker pointed out in a recent newsletter that the facility has had to cut the book acquisition budget by 33 percent, eliminated program funding, reduced technology spending by over 40 percent and reduced staffing costs. The library relies heavily on fundraising conducted by Friends of the Tecumseh District Library for much of its discretionary spending.

Since the library became independent from the Tecumseh Public Schools 10 years ago, it has undergone extensive renovations including a complete reconstruction of the entrance, new heating and air conditioning, and the addition of 14 new public computers to name a few.

In her presentation Walker emphasized the fiscal prudence that has been exercised by the library trustees, pointing out that as property values have declined, causing subsequent reduction in library revenue, operating expenses have been reduced by 34 percent. In the meantime a few of the expanded services and programs that have been saved through fundraisers and donations have included:

• Library programs that have increased from 93 in 2003 to 245 in 2012.

• Teen programs that have increased from four to 35. Participation in those programs rose from 14 to 1,007.

• Adult programs went from 11 to 87 and adult participation in those programs increased from 64 to 3,623.

• Computer use increased from 1,502 in 2003 to 29,904 in 2012.

The library will be celebrating its tenth anniversary as a district library April 26, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with refreshments, music, and a video presentation of the classic poem “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer as recited by a number of Tecumseh residents, especially collected for the occasion.
For more information from the Ballot Question Committee, logon to www.vote4tdl.com.




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