Taxes

In March of this year, I became a homeowner.  One of the responsibilities of being a homeowner is property tax, which I am very happy to pay in order to strengthen my community.  I like to think that the taxes that my family and I pay help make some awesome stuff possible in my town.  I had really never known specifics about how taxes work, but I did know that historically public libraries got a small amount from all of the taxes paid by a homeowner.

I snapped this picture of my tax bill when I received it in the mail a few weeks ago.  At first, I had the knee jerk reaction of “WHAT, HOW COULD LIBRARIES GET THE SHAFT SO MUCH!?!?!?!” But after thinking about it a lot, it came to me why we’re only getting a small percentage of what people are paying into taxes…

LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS HAVEN’T DONE A GOOD ENOUGH JOB COMMUNICATING THEIR VALUE TO THE COMMUNITY.

We all know what we’re doing…we’re more than books and movies.  We’re sitting down with our patrons one on one, helping them fill out resumes, helping them search for jobs, doing homework with our children and teen patrons, and so much more.  But most people think of us at the “place to get books, movies, and video games for free.”

What’s your take?  Do you think we can do a better job at communicating what we’re good at in hopes of getting a bigger piece of the tax pie?  I sure think we can, and I’d really like to see us try so we can do more for our communities.

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3 responses to “Taxes

  1. Might I add this? I think this is a good example of a library communication that they’re not just books and other materials:

    http://www.webpagescreenshot.info/img/33517-914201173316PM

  2. Good morning Justin,

    No question that we need to better communicate the role of libraries as community assets. Whether we are just self-effacing by nature, or presume that our role as an essential part of the community fabric is accepted without question we have not fully articulated the case for adequate funding. In either case, it takes advocacy, community engagement and creative actions to correct the funding imbalance. We received an increase of $50,000 in our operating budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 after two years of draconian reductions, but it took hard work and a lot of proselytizing to accomplish that feat!

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