Endorsement: Yes for Sugar Grove library
Voters in the Sugar Grove library district have sent the message 12 times that they don't want to spend additional money to run the library. For the March 18 referendum, however, they should reconsider. The library has never increased its operating rate, even after voters agreed to pay for a new building in 2004. That left no extra funds for staffing, purchases and upkeep, while visits and circulation continue to rise in the growing district. This year, for the first time, more than half of the district's residents have a library card, and two recent surveys show residents want more materials, programs and hours from their library. The library board had a history of dysfunction, but new members, along with a new director, have cleaned up the institution's act. They've sought other revenue streams for the library, such as renting out rooms, and cut costs by renegotiating contracts, using staff more efficiently and buying through discounted suppliers. But the library still is open only 50 hours a week, far less time than at neighboring libraries. The request for a tax increase is lower than in past years and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $25 a year. A successful referendum also would strengthen the district's finances for possible restructuring of building bonds. We recommend a yes vote.