Author Archive

From the Director: Personal Property Tax & Libraries

Monday, February 27th, 2012

The proposal in Michigan’s Legislature to eliminate the personal property tax on businesses without a clear replacement strategy has those who provide services deemed essential by voters feeling as though we’re walking a tightrope. We’re promised a safety net by our legislators, but we can’t see one.
 
All libraries in Michigan are at risk. At Kent District Library, the PPT accounts for nearly 8 percent (over $1.1 million) of our operating budget. We have already cut expenses to the bone after several years of declining tax revenue.
 
If the PPT is not replaced, KDL will need to make significant operational cuts such as staff layoffs, cuts to the materials budget, fewer open hours and elimination of early literacy workshops and classes for job seekers (see an easy-to-read slide presentation here). These reductions come at a time when use of the library is booming — the number of items checked out from our libraries has increased by 50 percent over the last six years. More people – 3.3 million – visit KDL than any other library in Michigan except Detroit Public Library.
 
While I agree that the PPT is not necessarily a wise tax, the services it funds — municipalities, schools and, of course, libraries — are wise. They’re vital. These are the entities voters have regularly said are worthy of their tax dollars. These are services that keep property values steady and growing, and create vibrant communities that attract new businesses and residents.
 
Michigan’s public libraries are not asking for more money; we’re simply asking that we be allowed to continue to provide quality library services that meet the needs of our residents.  Please take a moment and tell your legislators you want a PPT replacement plan, and that you want libraries included.

Thank you for your continued support!

Lance Werner,
KDL Director


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From the Director: Preserving Libraries

Monday, November 28th, 2011

It’s a great time to show your library some love.

A recent national media article has chronicled the devastating effects of budget cuts to U.S. public libraries, noting that many are currently threatened with staff cuts, reduced hours and even branch closings. It seems incomprehensible, but libraries are not immune to the cutbacks facing so many other vital services and institutions in our communities.

At KDL, most of our budget (87 percent) comes directly from taxpayers like you, through your property taxes. When property values decline, so does our funding. Additional cuts anticipated at the state level next year could amount to an added loss of $1.1 million in revenue for KDL. These cuts come as patrons are using KDL’s services even more due to the tough economy. If Governor Snyder’s plan to eliminate personal property taxes for businesses is approved without some form of replacement funds for libraries, cuts that are happening at other public libraries will happen here too.

We have worked hard to keep past cuts from impacting those services most valued by our patrons. Still, you have likely noticed fewer copies of books on the shelves, a decreased number of library employees at your local branch, or perhaps we no longer offer a program you have come to enjoy. While we remain dedicated to providing you with the very best service possible no matter the financial circumstances, we could use your help to preserve the library services you love.

I’ve listed below a few simple things you can do to support the library:

  • Donate to the KDL Fund. No gift is too small!
  • Write your legislator. Your message can be as simple as: “I love my library. Replace, don’t erase, the personal property tax.”
  • Be an advocate. Tell your friends and family about KDL, the great services we provide and what the library means to you.
  • Continue to use the library. Whether you come through our doors or use services on our website, the more you use KDL, the more you prove that libraries remain an invaluable community resource.

As director of KDL, I plan to loudly voice my intention to preserve public libraries for our generation and for many more to come. Please join me.

 

Yours,

Lance Werner Signature

Lance Werner

 


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From the Director: KDL a Star Library

Monday, November 7th, 2011

We did it again!

I am pleased to announce that Kent District Library has once again been recognized as a Star Library in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service 2011More than 7,000 libraries were evaluated, but only 262 received a starred rating.  KDL was one of only three Michigan libraries to make the list (Ann Arbor District Library and Benzie Shores District Library were the others).

We are thrilled that Kent District Library has received this accolade and appreciate the support that our patrons and communities have shown over the years. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating this wonderful achievement.   

Thank you for helping make KDL a Star Library!

 

Yours,

Lance Werner Signature

 Lance Werner

 


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From the Director: Yay Us! — KDL & You!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Congratulations! A comparison of Kent District Library usage data with figures recently reported in Public Libraries magazine (Sept./Oct. 2011) reveals that KDL is outpacing the national average for communities our size. For example, our library visits per capita, circulation per capita and collection turnover (how often an item is checked out in a given year), were nearly two times higher than the national average.

What does this mean to you? It’s proof positive that you love KDL and the wonderful materials and services you find in our libraries. While we don’t need numbers to tell us this, these figures help prove that KDL has some of the most avid library users in the country!

Thank you for using your public library and making KDL way above average.

Sincerely,

Lance Werner Signature

Lance Werner, Director
Kent District Library


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From the Director: Personal Property Tax

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

You depend on your local community government for police and fire protection, safe drinking water, plowed roads in the winter, and other essential services. Access to information is an essential service provided to you by Kent District Library. In today’s knowledge-based economy, loss of this service will cripple our communities.

Some Michigan legislators are proposing elimination of an important source of funding through repeal of the Michigan Personal Property Tax (PPT) — a tax generally paid by businesses and corporations, not by individual taxpayers or homeowners.

Eliminating the PPT without a full and “stable” replacement would slash revenues for local governments, including cities, libraries, and schools, by another $1.2 billion. By stable source of funding, I mean funds that are guaranteed for essential local government services and protected now and in the future. 

Losing the PPT would be devastating for Kent District Library. It would mean a loss of $1.1 million in 2012, or approximately 7% of our total operating budget. Our branches are busier than ever with 6.4 million checkouts in 2010, up 11% over the  two previous years. People are turning to the library for community programming, information, entertainment, and job hunting/résumé writing resources.  Loss of the PPT would significantly impact KDL’s ability to deliver service at the level our community has come to expect.  Without these funds the Library will undertake layoffs, massive reductions in operating hours, and deep cuts to the collection budget.

If the PPT is eliminated, it must be fully replaced. Please join me in urging your state Senator and Representative to guarantee a full replacement of the personal property tax if they vote to repeal it.

Sincerely,

Lance Werner Signature

Lance Werner, Director
Kent District Library



Lance Werner has served as the Director of the Kent District Library since 2011. He can be reached via email at lwerner@kdl.org, or by phone at 616-784-2091.


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From the Director

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Lance Werner

Now that I’ve been on the job for almost six months, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and my vision for Kent District Library in the coming years. 

I am honored to have been invited to serve the Kent District Library as its Director, and I am eager to become a part of this dynamic organization. The Kent District Library is recognized as one of the best public libraries in the nation and is warmly embraced by the community it serves.

I come to Kent District Library with a full appreciation of what has made the Library so successful: a dedicated and capable staff eager to serve patrons of all ages and from all backgrounds, devoted Friends of the Library groups and volunteers, a forward-looking Board of Trustees dedicated to quality library service; and all of you, the residents of the Kent County who have loyally supported the Library over the years.

People have called me “The Loud Librarian,” not because I speak loudly (although my voice does carry!), but because I believe that libraries today cannot sit quietly and expect that people will understand the value that the library brings to the community.  Libraries fuel amazing experiences that influence individuals and their communities. KDL branches are the heart of the community and at the heart of life-long learning and self-improvement.  Libraries are full of stories and stories have power.

Now, I invite you to speak up as well!  Tell us how the Kent District Library has influenced you; share your memories; communicate its importance to you, your family and our community.  Tell us your story.

Sincerely,

Lance Werner Signature

Lance Werner, Director
Kent District Library



Lance Werner has served as the Director of the Kent District Library since 2011. He can be reached via email at lwerner@kdl.org, or by phone at 616-784-2091.

 


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