Extra Credit

Library levy campaign underway

The Loving My Library campaign will hand out 1,000 yard signs and 10,000 brochures before the levy vote in November.
The Loving My Library campaign will hand out 1,000 yard signs and 10,000 brochures before the levy vote in November.

Kanawha County Library supporters quietly started a campaign last week they hope will encourage voters to approve a levy that will help fund the library system.

The vote isn’t until November 4, but supporters are confident their early start will help secure a victory and return the library to full funding.

This weekend, yard signs were placed around the county. At first sight, they may not make much sense, but they redirect to the “Loving My Library” website, which has plenty of information about the levy and its impact on voters.

Loving My Library was started by the Vote Yes for Libraries Committee and has been labeled a grassroots movement by supporters. It focuses on people sharing their stories about the library through word-of-mouth, video or social media. It’s a stark contrast to campaigning efforts for last year’s failed library levy, which saw school board member Pete Thaw actively campaigning against it even though the levy would have generated additional support for schools. The levy was overwhelmingly defeated in a special election.

This time, the library owns the message. The levy, while supported by the Kanawaha County Board of Education, will only benefit the library. George Manahan, the Loving My Library campaign manager, is confident it will be successful and thinks the group’s message will connect with voters whether they use library resources or not.

It may prove difficult to convince voters to approve a new tax, but the levy is actually quite modest. Should the levy pass, annual property taxes will increase about $16 for someone who owns a home and vehicle with assessed values of $100,000 and $15,000, respectively. In total, the levy will generate $3 million in annual support and is set to bring in about $18 million over the length of the tax.

If it doesn’t pass, branches could be closed, staff could be laid off and library hours could be cut.

The campaign is giving out free resources and is accepting donations. Visit www.lovingmylibrary.com for more information about the campaign, the levy and how to become involved.