Big Easy Magazine Recommends a YES Vote on Full Library Millage

Chef Susan Spicer holds a “Vote Yes” sign in support of the full library millage renewal. Photo courtesy of Dixon Stetler

With early voting now underway, Big Easy Magazine wants to remind New Orleans voters to vote YES in support of the full library millage renewal on Dec. 11.

On Nov 24, the Bureau of Governmental Research released a report in support of the full millage noting that “The Library has used its existing tax revenue to increase its value to residents by expanding services. Continuing this revenue stream will allow the Library to sustain its current service level and implement its new strategic plan.”

“Over the past year, NOPL has had to adjust its service delivery models and find creative ways to bring our resources to the people,” said city librarian Dr. Gabriel Morely. “Those adjustments mark a new beginning and an opportunity for us to engage anew with our patrons and the larger community. This strategic plan provides a framework through which we can expand our approaches and deepen our impact. We want to be a part of the everyday lives of New Orleanians across the city.”

NOPL’s 10-year plan is based on three pillars:

  • S.M.A.R.T. Kids – encouraging the development of creative and critical thinking skills by ensuring New Orleans children have access to resources that they need to excel in Science, Math, Art, Reading, and Technology;
  • A Ready Workforce – developing a more formal role in the workforce development ecosystem by strengthening partnerships with Job1 and the YMCA as well as others to enhance the resources and services available;
  • Open Doors –  creating equitable access to library resources for all New Orleanians and overcoming barriers such as transportation access and proximity, as well as reimagining library spaces and service delivery models in order to remove barriers and ensure access for all.

The intention of the three pillars – and the plan as a whole – is to create a city culture that includes the New Orleans Public Library as a cornerstone of daily life for residents across the city beyond the brick and mortar buildings.

A pile of “Vote YES for NOLA Libraries” buttons to be handed out to voters. Photo courtesy of Dixon Stetler

Earlier this year the New Orleans Public Library Board of Directors, Friends of NOPL Foundation, and the Save our Libraries Coalition formed a collaborative partnership for the first time. The groups have been working together to secure long-term funding for the New Orleans Public Library system – a yes vote on the millage renewal would fund the library for the next 20 years.

“A successful renewal on December 11, 2021 of the library’s expiring tax millage will allow the library system to pursue its three strategic pillars as outlined in the new NOPL 10-year strategic plan: Smart Kids, Open Doors, and Ready Workforce,” the coalition said in a joint unity statement. “Together we advocate for the library’s daily commitment to provide safe spaces, early childhood education and child and teen development, literacy and digital skill building, workforce assistance engaging programs, vibrant community hubs, outreach and more. United, we will work to inform the public of the critical role the New Orleans Public Library plays providing free and essential services and intellectual infrastructure to all our city’s people.”

The Save Our Libraries Coalition has been publicly fighting for the full millage renewal since 2020 – first encouraging voters to turn down a smaller millage on the 2020 ballot, and now urging voters to vote yes on this year’s ballot.

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