BURLEY, Idaho — Public libraries are often referred to as the heart of every community, and they are also often largely funded by the community in the form of some sort of tax.
For the Burley Public Library, an upcoming election item has largely impacted them for many years.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Burley Public Library often served around 9,000 community members a month. It is often the place parents go for story time and other educational programs. They also often see a homeless and unemployed population, who come in to get help to apply for jobs.
“We use it pretty often," said library patron Veronica Hilliard. “I have four kids under the age of 12."
Since 2007, Burley voters have passed a two-year levy to cover 51% of the general operating funds for the library. This temporary override levy worth $227,280 is back on the ballot this upcoming election.
“My favorite thing is that Google can’t tell you everything,” said Library Director Tayce Robinson. “It can’t help you learn new skills and the library can do that."
The library would like to see their levy become permanent one day, but that would take a 66% two-thirds super majority to vote — something the community may not be entirely ready for just yet. In 2019 the library's levy passed with 64%.
“We want to provide the services that we have been and work on improving our services, and not overburden our population,” said Robinson.
If the levy were to pass again, taxpayers would not see an increase to their levy rate, and the average homeowner would continue to pay about $1.70 a month to contribute to the levy.
“After working with the people and working with the community I have really gained an appreciation for what libraries can do for people and what they do for my community,” said library intern Kathryn Cox.
The next election is on May 18.