In 1983, the Pulitzer Prize for best book of fiction was awarded to Alice Walker for “The Color Purple” — and people were just learning about the word “internet.”
It was also the last year the Mid-Continent Public Library had a raise.
The library district that serves more than 780,000 people in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties is asking voters in November to approve an 8-cent property tax increase, which would add roughly $10 million to the current budget of about $42 million.
Proposition L — think “library” — would allow the district to build six new or replacement branches, renovate 28 others and otherwise improve its collections and services. One of those new branches would be in fast-growing eastern Independence.
Library officials and boosters gathered Wednesday at the Independence Square to generate enthusiasm for the campaign.
“I think it’s high time that the library did have an increase in revenues,” said Independence Mayor Eileen Weir, “and I think that we will see great things by voting yes on Proposition L.”
The library system currently has an annual materials circulation of nearly 9 million items. There are also about 1 million uses of library resources to access the internet.
Passage of the tax would increase the current library levy from 32 cents per $100 assessed valuation to 40 cents. Library officials calculate that it would translate to $22.80 more a year for owners of a $150,000 house.
Without the increase, the Mid-Continent district might not be able to renovate branches in need and may need to reduce hours and services.