Future of Jackson libraries on the ballot this November

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — While the presidential race is getting a lot of attention this election season, several communities across mid-Michigan have important issues to consider as well.

In Jackson County, voters will see a library millage renewal on the ballot next month.

6 News talked to district library officials about how the vote could lead to the final chapter for county libraries.

From checking out books and movies to using the computer, Beverly Fox says she’s in the library almost every day.

“The library has always meant a lot to me,” Fox said.

But a failed millage could put those resources in jeopardy.

“I’d be very unhappy. It would make me sad,” Fox said.

The Jackson District Library, with its 13 branches, serves all of Jackson County.

On November 8, voters will consider two millage renewals, one of which will have a slight increase.

That millage hasn’t been renewed for eight years.

And the other hasn’t been voted on for 20 years.

“It’s an important vote for us. It doesn’t happen all the time.

Our millage supports our staff. It supports the collections. It really supports all of the services we offer,” said Jackson District Library Director Sara Tackett.

Money from the millage makes up more than 80 percent of the library’s budget.

And if it isn’t approved by voters, the results could be devastating.

“It would be very challenging to run our library without the millage,” Tackett said.

The library district hopes that they don’t get to that point.

They’ve been out raising awareness about what the library does for the community.

“We’ve had the highest circulation last year that we’ve ever had. We also have more folks attending programs,” Tackett said.

If the millage fails, the library district has enough money to stay open for another year, and would ask voters to reconsider.

“The community, for more than 150 years, has been behind the library service here and I am sure that will continue,” Tackett said.

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