Calcasieu Library System seeks tax renewal
by HEATHER REGAN WHITE
The Calcasieu Parish Library System is asking voters to continue their support of the system’s 12 facilities.
A 10-year, 5.99 mill renewal is on the Nov. 6 ballot. The tax is the only one levied by the library system and it accounts for 96 percent of its funding. The tax renewal is projected to bring in around $12.8 million a year.
Library Director Marjorie Harrison said the renewal would translate to $44.93 annually, or $3.74 a month, for homeowners with an assessed property value of $150,000.
“The monthly expense is the equivalent to pay for a small cup of coffee at Starbucks,” Harrison said.
Those with homes assessed at $250,000 would pay $104.83 annually, or $8.74 a month, which Harrison said is the equivalent to purchasing a movie ticket at a local cinema.
The tax is not an increase, she said.
“The renewal is important, not only for our library system, but also for all residents of Calcasieu Parish who depend on the free services we offer,” she said.
In its Year in Review report, the 2017 operational income from fines and fees, ad valorem tax, interest, grants and state revenue sharing was $11,394,497.03. Operational expenses were $10,891,77.20.
Reserves, as of June 19, were $9,611,805.
In 2017, the library system had more than 630,000 inperson visitors and 1.5 million online.
In the report, the library system pegged the total saved by residents using the libraries rather than spending money on services at $28,907,215.90.
Patrons requested 4,336 materials from other parish libraries. They borrowed 521,051 books, 383,730 Blu-ray discs and regular DVDs, 12,332 video games, 2,165 laptops, 481 Wi-Fi hotspot cards, 319 American Girl dolls and 187 cake pans.
There were 134,170 eBook downlowads, 122,566 patrons attending library programs, 3,577 free meeting rooms were booked, 112,472 users assessed the free Wi-Fi and 145,543 users borrowed or downloaded audiobooks, eAudiobooks and CDs.
“Libraries promote early literacy and lifelong learning,” Harrison said. “They ensure our citizens have access to information regardless of age, education, ethnicity, gender, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers. In short, libraries transform lives and communities.”