Vail Daily letter: Bad for Colorado
Vail, CO, Colorado
Colorado voters will see three fiscal ballot measures this November — Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61. If passed, these draconian measures will essentially shut down Colorado’s public services. They create an unprecedented $4.2 billion deficit at the state and local level, displacing 73,000 jobs, terminating more than 8,000 classroom teachers and dramatically increasing fees and licenses on small business.
All types of activities that benefit us – the public – would be stripped of all effectiveness. Take libraries as an example. Funding for public libraries comes from a variety of sources, but ultimately, from taxes. It’s difficult to project what a reduction of 50 to 75 percent might mean specifically.
Here at the Eagle Valley Library District, it means that the Avon, Eagle, and Gypsum public libraries would face a significant reduction in hours of library service, fewer staff, longer wait-times for public computers and fewer items available for checkout.
These measures represent a profound attack on our public infrastructure and the public good. We must seriously consider what services are important to us, and our future.
Libraries provide resources for people to find jobs and learn new job skills. They help small businesses and build community. Libraries are a smart investment – they provide equal public access to computers and the Internet, homework help, entertainment, literacy resources and knowledge.
It seems counter-intuitive to reduce the services our libraries can offer at a time when demand for said services is at an all-time high.
The libraries of the Eagle Valley Library District welcomed over 380,600 visitors last year, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous year. Circulation of materials went up 20 percent.
The use of online databases (such as Ancestry Library, Chilton’s Auto Repair Online and Consumer Reports) increased nearly 43 percent from 2008 to 2009.
Last year 30,360 people attended various library programs. The children’s summer reading program also grew, with 961 children and 205 teens participating. This shows a real and relevant need for our libraries.
We urge Colorado voters to join businesses, farmers, unions, educators and many agencies to find a better way to help our state. Let your neighbors know of the potential devastation. Vote NO on Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101.
Joyce Gedelman-Viers, Kathy Heicher, Kim Lyons-Mitchell, Sally Metcalf, Jody Talbot, Jill Warner, Wren Wertin The Friends of the Eagle Valley Library District’s Board of Directors