In The News › New Orleans library has a detailed plan for new tax money: A letter to the editor

Apr 24, 2015

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Filed under: On the Ballot, Orleans Parish, Taxes

New Orleans library has a detailed plan for new tax money: A letter to the editor

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

April 24, 2015

Re: “BGR concerned about lack of planning for libraries,” Opinions, April 23. The Bureau of Governmental Research has been misleading in sharing its opinions regarding the upcoming library millage effort.

Here are a few facts: The library has provided consistent details related to future, post-millage planning, including: stabilizing its funding base; a 30 percent increase in hours of operation; reopening the Katrina-damaged Nora Navra Library in the 7th Ward; expansion of outreach efforts, especially in the areas of literacy, school support/readiness and services to youth and the elderly; and remaining current with book (in all formats) and technology offerings. Specifics regarding this planning can be found at www.neworleanspubliclibrary.org or any library location.

Millage revenue projections were developed by experienced staff within city government, not the library. The BGR’s questioning of these figures was never posed to their actual source, despite multiple suggestions to do so.

A comprehensive master plan, developed by the library post-Hurricane Katrina with a nine-figure price tag, was deemed too expensive to undertake. Subsequently, then-city officials decided to rebuild libraries in neighborhoods where they already existed rather than choosing which neighborhoods to rebuild in and where not to. The BGR is well aware of this, causing one to question if it is proposing the possible closing of some neighborhood libraries.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the library lost 27 percent of its pre-storm dedicated funding due to a decision to provide appropriate tax relief to struggling homeowners. That funding reduction remains in place, cannot be restored — impacting service options/enhancements — and received scant attention in the BGR report.

A progressive, accessible, well-stocked and technologically current library is a vital asset for any community and certainly for New Orleans — given its myriad challenges: illiteracy, school performance levels, technology deficits, unemployment and underemployment and crime statistics. The public library is a powerful combatant to these issues as the city advances through the 21st century.

Charles M. Brown

Executive Director/City Librarian

New Orleans

Apr 24, 2015

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Filed under: On the Ballot, Orleans Parish, Taxes

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