West Jefferson library seeks levy renewal

(Posted Oct. 11, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library in West Jefferson is seeking a five-year renewal of its 1.5-mill levy for current expenses. The request appears on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

The levy generates $294,768 per year. The annual cost to a taxpayer is $38.89 per $100,000 of property valuation.

“There won’t be any increase in what taxpayers pay. This is strictly a renewal,” said Tara McClaskie, library director.

The levy accounts for almost 50 percent of the library’s revenue. The other 50 percent comes from state funds (approximately 44 percent) and fees, fines, and donations (approximately 6 percent). Voters first passed the levy in 2009 and renewed it in 2014.

If voters renew the levy again, the library would be able to continue to purchase books and movies, offer a wide array of programming, serve as a gathering place for children and adults, and provide the public with free access to computers, computer training, digital downloads, and other technology, McClaskie said.

The library continually looks for ways to provide the public with new services, she added. STEAM programs for teens is one example. Participants learn about everything from archaeology to conservation in hands-on activities centered around science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

“These programs have done pretty well, so far,” McClaskie said.

The library has increased its offerings for adults, as well, hosting hands-on programs in art, gardening and more.

Patrons have latched on to the library’s access to books, magazines and other materials in digital form. Through Overdrive on the library’s website, patrons can download materials directly to their personal devices.

“As people become more and more comfortable and accustomed to the new technology, they take advantage of it. We have seen use go up,” McClaskie said.

Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library is located at 270 Lilly Chapel Rd., West Jefferson.

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