November 7, 2014

Election results for libraries across the country

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Kanawha County voters in West Virgina voted to pass a three million library levy this week.

Kanawha County voters in West Virgina voted to pass a three million library levy this week.

Republicans may have taken the senate this week in the elections, but how did library issues fare?

As Gary Price points out in a post on Library Journal’s InfoDocket, results have been collected by John Chrastka at EveryLibrary, a national organization dedicated to building voter support for libraries.

Of the 69 elections that he tracked for results, there were 55 wins for libraries, and 14 losses. “When there were wins they tended to be big.” Chrastka notes. “Where there are losses, they tend to be close. As far as national trends go, the win/loss rate for libraries looks to be about the same as it was in 2013.”

But he also cautions that in his experience, the attitude of voters on the local level seems to be suspicious of libraries for a few reasons:

After working on 19 campaigns this year and watching, interviewing, and studying dozens more, it’s our opinion that the big story for libraries is their local political climate.  We’re seeing opposition come from three significant places this year:  the local political establishment who run either a ‘no’ campaign in town or runs against the library itself;  anti-tax groups who are philosophically opposed to any new taxes; and anti-access groups who do not want to see the library have the funding it needs to serve ‘those people’.

Chrastka also includes a link to an excel document with more information about library locations, vote counts, and issues on the ballot.

 

 

Claire Kelley is a the former Director of Library and Academic Marketing.

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