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Councilmember Juarez’s Committee Advances Library Levy

Councilmember Debora Juarez (District 5, North Seattle), Chair of the Select Committee on the Library Levy, passed the library levy out of committee yesterday with her Council colleagues in a 7-0 vote. The library levy will go before the Full Council on Monday, April 22 during its regularly-scheduled meeting.

“Since 1890, the Seattle Public Library has served as the people’s university. Our Library provides access to professional development courses and tutoring, hosts speakers, and supports immigrants, veterans and our disabled neighbors. The transparent and public process that established the programs and services contained in this levy supports our Library’s mission to bring about a more knowledgeable, stronger, and more democratic society,” said Councilmember Juarez. “In the context of threats to school librarians across Washington State, I am proud to say this Council is sending a levy package to voters that protects and expands Seattle’s Public Library.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her “Libraries for All” plan on March 13, 2019. Durkan’s proposal included renewing the 2012 library levy and expanding it to $213 million over seven years. Her proposed expansion included increasing library hours, eliminating overdue library fines, and making needed seismic retrofits to existing libraries. The proposal would not eliminate fees for lost or missing materials.

Council Bill 119491 was amended by Council to add investments in addition to the Mayor’s proposal. They include the following:

●     Expansion of Play and Learn 0-5 years old education

●     Additional open hours at 26 libraries

●     Expanded Community Resource Specialist program for youths

The 2012 library levy expires in 2019. The proposed library levy spending plan will go before voters on the August 6 ballot.

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