With a sales tax that funds libraries throughout Stanislaus County nearing expiration, a committee of library enthusiasts known as Save Stanislaus Libraries will sponsor a fundraising event in January that will raise awareness about a tax renewal up for consideration in November and enlighten others on how they can get involved.
“If the sales tax doesn’t pass, the bottom line is there will be no library,” said Save Stanislaus Libraries co-chair Pat Portwood.
The renewal of the one-eighth of a penny Library Sales Tax, which was first passed in 1995, will be on the November 2017 ballot and will need two-thirds majority to pass. If approved, the tax will continue to keep the county’s nine libraries operating for another 12 years.
“It is absolutely critical,” said Portwood. “Libraries are run totally on an eighth of a cent sales tax — it makes up about 89 percent of their budget. It’s not a huge thing taken from each person, but what they get is a public library with access to books, computers and a lot of other resources and services.”
The fundraising event in January will be sponsored by Save Stanislaus Libraries and hosted by John and Jeani Ferrari, who are self-proclaimed “longtime library enthusiasts.”
“We understand how important our local library is and the economics of the one-eighth of a penny sales tax, which funds 80 percent of the county’s libraries,” said Jeani Ferrari. “Our children spent many hours in the Turlock library. Our family had ‘library night’ once a week and would spend the evening, together, in the library. Libraries are such an important part of every community. So it just makes sense that our family be on board for the county library tax renewal.”
During the event, guests will receive a presentation from Carnegie Arts Center Director Lisa McDermott, who will discuss the Childhood Classics: 100 Years of Original Illustration from the Art Kandy Collection that is currently featured in the Ferrari Gallery. The exhibition “presents the illustrations and the illustrators that have been bringing stories to life for generations of children.” The Save Stanislaus Libraries Committee will also provide a selection of wines and appetizers for guests, as well as materials about the upcoming library tax ballot measure.
“We will talk about the importance of the upcoming library tax, what it is, and how they can support,” said Portwood.
Portwood said that Save Stanislaus Libraries will continue to sponsor fundraising events like this until November, with hopes of raising $150,000 for campaign materials that will help raise awareness, as well as place the Library Sales Tax renewal on the ballot. Portwood said Friday that the committee has already raised $70,000.
The Save Stanislaus Libraries event will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Carnegie Arts Center, 250 N. Broadway Avenue. Tickets are $50 per person. Those interested in attending must RSVP by Jan. 4 to email@example.com or 353-2217.
For more information on Save Stanislaus Libraries, visit savestanislauslibraries.org.