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On August 8, 2017 the St. Joseph Public Library asked voters to renew the 15-cent portion of its tax levy, with a sunset of 20 years. Voters responded with 88% voting YES! We appreciate that support and are leaving this information up if anyone has questions.

Continuing the 15-cent levy for 20 years will:
• Provide daily operating costs, including utilities and payroll at the four branches.
• Update computers, technology infrastructure, internet and wireless access at the branches.
• The library will be able to purchase books, audiobooks, movies and other material. Provide more resources for entrepreneurs, small businesses and job seekers. Add individual and collaborative study rooms.
• Increase programming and outreach for all ages. We provide programming for babies through senior adults.
• Maintain and improve buildings and grounds.
• Restore branch hours that were cut in 2008. This means returning to full 6-day a week service at Carnegie and Washington Park and 7-day a week service at the Downtown branch.

Books are just the beginning. St. Joseph Public Libraries offer programs for all ages. We provide training courses and access to technology for job seekers. We provide resources and networking events for small business owners. We help prepare kids for kindergarten, beginning with brain development for babies.

The library offers: books, programs, community space. Library staff is always thinking of ways to stretch tax dollars and meet the needs of our community. An example is a new first floor meeting room at the Downtown location which will be completed with grant monies in the near future.

• The levy vote is Tuesday, August 8, 2017. It needs a simple majority to pass.
• Ballot language: Shall the St. Joseph Public Library be authorized to continue to levy the $0.15 per $100 of assessed valuation first authorized in 1999, for a period of twenty years beginning in the 2020 calendar year, to be used to operate and maintain library facilities?
• The financial obligation to taxpayers will not increase. This is a tax renewal of the 15¢ portion of the levy, not an increase.
• The current yearly tax paid to the library by a homeowner living in a $100,000 house is $79.80 per year. That equates to $6.65 per month. Of the $79.80, $28.50 is collected for the 15¢ levy. That is about $2.35 a month. $51.30 is collected toward the 27¢ levy.
• The cost of the election was be $40,050.
• How many people voted in 1999 in the SJPL district: 7,133. Yes: 3,722 No: 3,411

• The St. Joseph Public Library was established April 1890 with a vote to establish a yearly tax of 3/10 of a mil.
• Prior to 1986, library revenue was an appropriation by the City Council.
• March 1986, citizens voted to approve an operating tax of 27¢ per $100 of assessed valuation. This is the permanent portion of the library’s levy.
• November 1999, citizens voted to raise the tax 15¢ per $100 for a total of levy of 42¢ for 20 years. The tax was used to renovate the three existing branches, build a new branch and provide operating funding for the system.
• In August 2017, the library is asking citizens to renew only the 15¢ portion of the levy for another 20 years. The 27¢ portion does not expire.

Library Return on Investment:
For every $1 in taxes the St. Joseph Public Library receives, it provides $2.23 in services to the residents of St. Joseph.

• The library is a political subdivision in Missouri and is a separate taxing entity from the city of St. Joseph. The Mayor appoints Library Board members, the City Council approves them, but the library does not receive any funding from the city’s budget.
• The library is also separate from the school district, though the library has shared the Downtown library building with the school district since 1902. The school district built the building as a combined school administration building and public library. The two have always been separate entities and the library pays rent in the form of its share of the utilities in the building (48%) and pay for any improvements to library space.

• For the current fiscal year, July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017, 95% of the library’s total revenue comes from individual and business personal and real estate property taxes. The 42¢ tax rate brings in these funds.
• The sources of the other 5% of revenue come from fees; state funding; federal funding in the form of grants; fundraisers; and donations from individuals, businesses, Friends of the Library and Library Foundation.

Library Buildings:
• The St. Joseph Public Library has four branches.
• The Downtown Library was built as a joint School District Administration Building and Public Library in 1902. The library has been a tenant ever since. The library space was renovated in 2004.
• The Carnegie Library is one of the oldest branch libraries in the Missouri. It also opened in 1902 and was built with funds from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. It was renovated in 2002. The last big project at the branch was replacing the entire sidewalk in the park in the fall of 2016.
• The Washington Park Library opened in 1910. It was also built with funds from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. It was renovated in 2002.
• The East Hills Library opened in 2004. The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau eastside Visitor’s Center has been a tenant in the building since it opened.

What has the library done with the 15¢ levy that was approved in 1999:
• Beautifully renovated and continue to maintain the Carnegie, Downtown and Washington Park libraries. The buildings were improved for the 21st century, while maintaining their late 19th century/early 20th century beauty.
• Built the East Hills Library, the busiest branch in the system.
• Added additional public computers at all the branches.
• Provided free Wireless internet access at all the branches.
• Increased programming to include babies, toddlers, teens and adults. Not just children’s programming.
• Free meeting rooms for community groups. Before the renovation the meeting rooms at Washington Park were nearly unusable. The meeting rooms in the libraries are now used daily by the community and three of the four branches offer meeting rooms. Carnegie does not have a meeting room.

• Circulation in the 1998-1999 year was 250,022 items. (When the 15¢ levy was passed.) In the last completed fiscal year checkouts totaled 360,311, a 44% increase.
• Attendance at library programs was 7,095 in fiscal year 1998-1999 and 38,084 in the last fiscal year. That’s an increase of 537%.
• Public computer usage totaled 6,324 in 1998-1999. Public Computer and wireless access totaled 75,636 in the last fiscal year.
• Meeting room usage has also greatly grown. The East Hills, Washington Park and Downtown libraries now have rooms available for the public to meet.

• The branches offer computers with internet access and Microsoft programs. It also offers catalog computers, game and program computers just for kids at all the branches and even typewriters.
• The library check out books, audiobooks, music, movies, magazines and have newspapers available to read in the branches. It also offer electronic content that can be checked out from home including ebooks, eaudiobooks, emagazines and even a few downloadable movies.
• Interlibrary loan – borrowing books and audiobooks from other libraries when SJPL doesn’t have it.
• Computer classes on a myriad of topics, people ask and the library delivers.
• The library offer databases on a variety of helpful topics: Marketing, including mailing lists; Practice Tests; Resume Help; Legal Forms; Car Repair; Genealogy; Language Learning; Health & General Information. The majority of the databases are available outside of the library with a library card.
• Investing resources like Wall Street Journal and ValueLine.
• Regular collaboration with community organizations: The Chamber of Commerce and MWSU for the weekly Cup of Joe entrepreneurial program held weekly at the East Hills Library; Early Literacy programs and events with United Way, Parents as Teachers and the Youth Alliance; Rolling Hills Library for library various programs and events. Staff regularly visit public and parochial schools for programs, along with preschools, Head Starts and the Noyes Home for storytimes. The schools also regularly visit the libraries for programs. The library is partnering again with the East Hills Shopping Center and the Regular Joe to present drive-in movies this summer.
• Bi-monthly Newsletter: ShelfLife with library news and program information. This can be picked up at the library, mailed or delivered via email.
• STAMPS (StoryTimes and More Program Schedule) – A monthly calendar of events email.
• Monthly newsletters related to bestsellers, new books, audiobooks and movies available to checkout from the library.
• A full-service Reference department at the Downtown Library featuring local history and genealogy information, including newspapers on microfilm dating to the 1840s with solid coverage from 1880s forward.
• Oral History Project – the Reference Department is collecting the stories of St. Joseph residents to preserve and share with later generations.
• VIP Club – Patrons pick from a list of the community’s most popular authors and library staff automatically places reserves on those books when the author publishes a new book.
• Book Clubs for adults, teens and children.
• The Downtown Library is a Family Place Library, with space specifically for parents with babies and kids up to 6 years old to play.
• The East Hills Library is open 7 days a week and is a thoroughly modern building with something happening there almost every day.
• Neighborhood and lower income families appreciate the Carnegie and Washington Park libraries for the many resources close to home and within walking distance.
• Other services: The Downtown Library offers free notary service. All of the branches provide printing, faxing, scanning and photocopying for a small fee.
• Current number of library cards issued: 49,353
• Collection = 193,000 books; 47,500 movies, music and audiobooks; 18,000 ebooks; 5,000 eaudiobooks and 50 emagazines.

Budget/Employee Information:
Current operating budget: $2,668,826 Employees: 56 (31 full-time, 25 part-time)
Director: Mary Beth Revels has been director for 15 years. She was appointed director in June 2002.

Salaries: $1,306,917 = 49% of the operating budget
Salaries & Benefits: $1,721,971 = 65% of the operating budget
Materials (books and databases): $247,000 = 9% of the operating budget
Other: $699,855 = 26% of the budget (utilities, building maintenance, computer service, hardware, supplies, postage, equipment, etc.)

Breakdown of total budget: $3,286,960 (Current fiscal year)
Debt (for renovating three older branches and constructing East Hills) – $618,134 or 19% of the budget
Personnel (salaries and benefits) – $1,721,971; 52%
Materials (books, movies, music, online databases, etc.) – $247,000; 8%
Library Programming – $27,000; 1% Office Supplies & Postage – $56,493; 2%
Building Expenses (building repair and maintenance and janitorial supplies) – $127,000; 4%
Technology (hardware, internet, software and software maintenance) – $90,000; 3%
Utilities (phone, gas, electric, water and sewer) – $126,000; 4%
Administration (dues, memberships, travel and insurance) – $66,000; 2%
Other Operating Expense (furniture, equipment and repair, professional services, etc.) – $207,362 – 5%

For more information or additional questions, please contact Mary Beth Revels at 816-232-4038 or