Pasadena public libraries play an essential role in providing safe, accessible and 100% free educational resource centers for everyone. Individuals and families, no matter their socioeconomic status, can count on Pasadena libraries to provide them with the resources they need to succeed and the answers to important questions they can't otherwise find. In addition to their original purpose of providing information, Pasadena libraries provide early and digital literacy programs, school readiness programs, and free computer and Wi-Fi access.
“It's no surprise that the Pasadena Public Library was founded years before Pasadena was incorporated as a city. Residents came together to support the funding of the first library by purchasing shares for as little as $5. Since then, the Pasadena community has banded together to support the Special Library Parcel Tax: in 1993 with 79.9% support, in 1997 with 84% of the vote, and in 2007 with 80.4% of the vote. On Monday, July 11, the Pasadena City Council unanimously voted to support Measure L and our public libraries,” stated Mayor Victor M. Gordo.
After almost 15 years since its last renewal, the library revenue source will expire in February 2023 and can only be continued by a public vote. Therefore, this year, the City Council placed Measure L—the Pasadena Public Library Services Continuation Measure—on the November 8, 2022, ballot. Voters will decide whether to continue the dedicated, special revenue source for Pasadena Public Library programs and services. If approved, it will continue to generate approximately $2.8 million annually for the next 15 years.
Pasadena Public Library serves as an important City institution that continuously delivers on equity and inclusion for Pasadena residents. The libraries play a critical role in educating our children and youth, and are contemporary establishments looking into the future with programs that include robotics, computer coding, 3-D printing, and a hands-on lab for tinkering, designing, creating, and much more.
The parcel tax generates about 20% of the library budget. The revenue has been used to keep libraries open and well-maintained, purchase up-to-date books and materials, support library programs and services, continue to offer access to computers and Wi-Fi, and retain qualified librarians. It has enabled Pasadena Public Library to bring many technological improvements to the library, including an advanced search engine; a computerized magazine and newspaper index; a new online library catalog; and public access to the internet, with terminals at all library locations.
The operations of the Library and Information Services Department are funded primarily by the general fund and supplemented by the voter approved parcel tax. The following is a breakdown of taxes annually:
Single Family - $40.86
Condominiums - $40.86
Duplexes & Larger - $26.83/unit
Non-Residential - $298.99
For most taxpayers, this tax can be deducted from federal income taxes. Exemptions are provided for qualified seniors, disabled, and low-income owners.
If the existing funding through the Pasadena Public Library Services Continuation Measure (Measure L) is not maintained, the library would lose approximately $2.8 million annually, or 20% of its budget, which may lead to the closure of neighborhood library branches, a reduction of books and collections, a reduction in library hours, the loss of qualified librarians, and cuts in other significant programs and services offered to our community.
Whether there’s a family looking for a fun story time, an immigrant in need of language resources, an unemployed individual searching for job help, or a community member who needs help on their taxes, the library has something to offer.
For more information on Measure L, the Pasadena Public Library Services Continuation Measure, visit cityofpasadena.net/MeasureL.