Library or no library?

The town of Yarrow Point has voted NO several times when asked if we should join the King County Library system. As residents of Yarrow Point we are therefore not allowed to obtain a King County Library Card.  I sometimes wish that I had access to the library. My two sons aged 4 and 5 are very curious and their interest and shift from Dinosaurs, Trains, Trucks, Airplanes, Geography, Sharks to Whales on a daily basis. It would be great if I could pick up a new pile of books every so often. I can also understand how families with teenagers, entrepreneurs and other residents could benefit from a library. However, the cost of joining the library system is just not reasonable. So, what are our options?

I think there is an opportunity to put this question back on the Yarrow Point agenda. Having access to a library does not necessary mean the same thing as it did 10 or 25 years ago. I would like to understand what exactly our residents want in terms of library services? Then we can look at options and determine how the town can provide that service to a reasonable cost. There are many options today online to get access to books and other material. The main question becomes how we can keep the cost down by allowing residents to self-serve. What is needed is that we think outside of the box. I look forward to better understand our resident’s library need and try to come up with a reasonable solution.

7 thoughts on “Library or no library?”

  1. We need to have access to the local library. I have a 6 and 4 year old and it is ridiculous that our community refuses a $500 dollar per year fee. This issue is absurd.

  2. Yarrow Point once upon a time contracted with the King County Library System to provide access to our residents on a cost that was based on our number of residents. However, the board and management of the library decided that they would not do that any more and would serve us if we agreed to pay a property tax based on the assessed value of our property, which would have resulted in a ten-fold increase – likely even higher today. The library system has rich tax revenues and views its mission as a whole lot more than library services, with a whole lot of social agendas. I for one am not keen on the added property taxes and Yarrow Point has escaped a bullet by not allowing itself to be annexed in to the system. I think the cost to a typical Yarrow Point home is in the many thousands of dollars – you can buy a lot of books on Amazon for that price, and still use the Seattle Public library (including getting a card and checking out books) as well as the King County libraries (all services except checkout privileges). Don’t let ourselves be annexed to KCLS.

    1. YP you incorrect about being able to obtain a Seattle library card. The SPL website states that residents of Yarrow Point and Hunts Point are not eligible to obtain cards.
      Yarrow Point, and other west Bellevue towns, were getting a great deal from KCLS and not paying as much as the rest of King county. When that deal went away and we were asked to pay the same rate as the rest of the county, people got upset. When KCLS changed from contracting with the town to payment through property taxes it created a system where everyone in the county pays the same rate, the same way we pay for schools, roads, the port, etc. The library rate is not to exceed .50 per 1,000 and is currently .43 (and has been for many years). This seems fair to me. Someone who owns a house valued the same as mine pays the same amount. If I don’t want to pay as much I can choose to live in a less expensive house. The debate about a property tax system in general is for another day and doesn’t just involve the library. We were getting a bargain price from KCLS.
      Mr. Lagerholm, I understand your wanting to get books from the library for your children. It is one of my favorite memories with my children, unfortunately I am unable to do that with my granddaughters. KCLS is one of the best library systems in the nation. I think it is sad that we would try to create something that would be second rate at best. You get what you pay for.

      1. Kathy thanks for your comments. I do enjoy reading books with my kids. 43 cents per $1000 of property value is just not a reasonable amount to pay for that privilege. I do not share your view that it is a fair amount. I hope that the Town someday can come up with a cost-effective approach on how to provide Library services to the residents. Joining KCLS or SPL is not an option that I agree with.

        1. My comment regarding “fair” was the fact that we were being asked to pay the same rate as everyone else. If you don’t think the rate itself is fair then campaign to get it lowered. What is a fair rate? The levy rate for the Timberland library district in Thuston county is .40, Sno-Isle library district in Snohomish county and Fort Vancouver regional library district rates are .41+ (41.5 and 41.7 respectively), Pierce and Whatcom county library systems are at the max .50. The mean/median tax rate for all library systems in Oregon in 2011 was .57. KCLS at .43 seems to be in line with what the rest of western Washington and Oregon is paying to support libraries for their communities, but I would not be opposed to paying a lower rate!
          “Whatever the price of our libraries, it is cheap compared to the price of an ignorant nation.” -Walter Cronkite

  3. One thing I would like to see is some enforcement around pruning hedges and ensuring trees are trimmed so others lake views are not impacted. I see hedges over 30ft tall, and new trees taking over our views which we paid lots of money for. It is painful and tough for us to approach neighbors as the town council suggests.

  4. It is not a $500 a year fee. It is much more that than that for the average house here as it is based on property values. With Amazon and Amazon prime you can literally buy or access books and e-books on line cheaper than what the average charge would be. Most people in our neighborhood do not use the library and you have access if you want to go there. I am an avid reader too and raised children here.

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