by Lauren Gibbons
When East Lansing voters head to the polls Nov. 6, they’ll be faced with a choice that could improve the workings of the East Lansing Public Library.
A “yes” vote would also raise taxes within the city, but many students and residents believe the benefits would outweigh the costs.
An upcoming ballot proposal would impose a 1-mill tax levy on East Lansing residents for 10 years to raise additional funds for the library, located at 950 Abbot Road. If passed, the measure would raise an estimated $840,000 per year.
The additional funding would help make up for the budget shortages incurred by the library in recent years, East Lansing Public Library Board of Trustees Chair Martha Smith said at the Oct. 16 East Lansing City Council meeting.
During her annual report to the city council at the meeting, Smith said the library has seen excellent attendance numbers throughout the past year, with about 270,000 visitors total and more than 11,000 people using the programs the library offers. New additions to the library, such as the recent implementation of e-book availability, have also gained traction, she said.
The library has also implemented some programs meant to attract college students to the facilities, including offering free membership to students who present their MSU identification.
If the millage passes, the library could do even more to make itself a worthwhile presence in the East Lansing community, Smith said.
Although the library is off the beaten path for many students, most believe the local library is a cause worth investing in.
Media and information senior Brett Beres has never been to the East Lansing Public Library before, mainly because he doesn’t live near the building.
Even so, he is in support of the millage because he said the library serves a purpose for the area and offers certain amenities that other libraries frequented by students do not.
“If I was living out there, I’d definitely appreciate having a good library in that area,” Beres said. “It’s cool that they offer community activities — MSU’s libraries don’t have too many programs like that.”
More money for the library could mean more programs geared towards all community members, including college students — benefits that could encourage more students to check out books or study at the East Lansing Library, journalism junior Orieanna Greathouse said.
“I’d go down there more if they had programs benefiting college students,” Greathouse said. “If (the millage) is beneficial to the library, it will probably end up benefiting everyone in the community.”