On November 3, 2020, City of Eugene voters approved Measure 29-309, a levy renewal to maintain Eugene Public Library’s existing service levels for an additional five years. As of 11pm on Election Day, the measure was passing with 76.72% of the vote.
This decision continues the benefits provided by the voter-approved levy of November 2015, which increased open hours, free events, and availability of materials and technology at all Eugene Public Library locations: Downtown, Bethel, and Sheldon.
Library Director Will O’Hearn said, “On behalf of everyone at the library, thank you, Eugene! Our staff is deeply dedicated to doing all we can for our community, especially in these times when folks depend on the library even more. In particular, the library plays a crucial role in supporting families with young children, K-12 students and teachers, small business owners, job hunters, and people without their own Internet access or computers. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide excellent library services and to respond to future community needs.”
Mayor Lucy Vinis added, “Eugene Public Library has been a key player in helping our community get through the pandemic and will play a critical role as we build a strong recovery. The City of Eugene greatly appreciates the voters’ support to maintain excellent library services for everyone in our community.”
The levy renewal funding will begin July 1, 2021, supporting an additional five years of increased services originally funded by the 2015 levy. Services supported by the levy include maintaining the pre-COVID open hours schedule (48 hours across six days weekly at Bethel and Sheldon Branches; 64 hours across seven days at the Downtown Library); providing a robust schedule of programs for all ages at the library and off-site; ensuring a large supply of copies of high-demand books, ebooks, and other items; and, as needed, maintaining or replacing technology including Internet computers and the library’s traveling maker van.
The levy will provide $2.85 million annually for five years, about $37 per year for a typical Eugene property tax statement or 15¢ per $1,000 assessed value. To ensure accountability and transparency, the measure specified provisions including: separate levy fund budget and accounting (as per state law); annual staff summary of spending and performance measures; annual review by the citizen Library Advisory Board; and an annual City Manager’s report to City Council.